On your inspiration
I studied engineering, but was convinced I was not meant for it. During my stint with Ford Foundation, I worked with a doctor couple from Johns Hopkins University, USA. They were training rural women in Maharashtra as community health workers. I realized that is exactly what I wanted to do.
I conceived of the organization, but Vijay Mahajan, the co-founder of PRADAN, was instrumental in giving it shape. PRADAN works in seven states, mostly in tribal areas. The focus is on enhancing means of income through improving agriculture and irrigation, and by promoting home-based industry like poultry.
On your favourite project
PRADAN has done path-breaking work in silk farming in tussar-producing areas. Tribals in Jharkhand and Bihar were trained to identify disease-free eggs using a simple microscope and taught to increase productivity through new silkworm rearing techniques. The weavers were brought together to ensure they get better price from traders. Many are returning to sericulture as tussar has become more remunerative.
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