Selvaranjan Rahini born on 20th April, 1980 to Sunderalingam and Sarojini was compelled to stop her studies in Grade 10 due to poverty. She married Selvarajan in 2000. They eke out a living from casual labor. The couple has four school going children.
Prior to the hostilites they owned two cows and had a stable income from highland crops and paddy fields. As a result of the war they lost all their assets and her husband was mentally afflicted. Rahini became the sole breadwinner of the family and bears the entire burden on her frail shoulders. She manages her expenses for her children’s education, husband’s medication, and take care of her aged parents by engaging in agricultural activities.
Rahini’s father has had much experience in dairy farming but she could not afford to pay for a cow. Through USAID funded SILK project she was selected as a dairy farming beneficiary and eagerly participated in all the training programmes. Even in her situation of abject poverty she was actively involved in community development activities by being a member of Nathankudiyiruppu Women’s Rural Development Society.
She identified a cow along with a young calf with the help of her father. She was offered these two animals. Now Rahini gets five and half litres of milk daily. One litre of milk is consumed by the family and the balance four and a half litres of milk is sold. She derives an estimated income of Rs.225 daily from the sale of fresh milk.
With this new source of income, the family is able to manage its daily household expenses while taking care of the children’s education. The cow dung is used in the home garden and surplus is sold which earns additional income to the family.
Rahini is eager to buy another cow to expand her small enterprise, even though she is poor. The training programmes she has participated in have encouraged her to broaden her horizons.