Plots of Happiness
Approximately, 70 young girls like Sarjana, aged 11 to 18 have been enrolled in Landesa’s Girl’s Project in Charmahatpur village. They are not only learning how to cultivate small plots of vegetable gardens, but also getting educated about the importance of education, challenges of child marriage, financial independence, significance of literacy and benefits of nutritional food – including land ownership.
The official data says – West Bengal alone accounted more than a third of India’s trafficking victims in 2016. Backed by the state efforts, the programme is believed to benefit more than 48000 girls across 1000 villages in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. The districts bordering Bangladesh are very vulnerable and ranks high on risk coefficient, they are also termed as hotbeds of sex trafficking. Every year, hundreds of young girls as well as boys are lured by traffickers with the promise of better jobs in the cities only to dispatch them to the Gulf regions, later on.
In this regard, the Girl’s Project launched in 2011 is doing some great work in giving the girls their desired independence and dignity. The girls who have been under this program are more likely to stay in school and receive an asset in their names, only a few years later. “Landlessness is the biggest indicator of poverty, and by addressing the land literacy issue, they hope to make things work better. To live a life with dignity, knowing the importance of land ownership is very important,” says Sumit Gupta, Chief Revenue Officer of Nadia district, in which Charmahatpur is situated.