Workers in India weaving

Escaping the poverty trap

In early September 2014, the Jammu and Kashmir region experienced heavy incessant monsoon rains that lasted for more than five days, affecting over 10 million people across 2,600 villages.

In the Kashmir Valley, where most people survive on agriculture and horticulture, 557km² of land was flooded.

Almost a quarter of the families in the Bandipora and Baramulla districts live on less than 20,000 rupees (around 200 GBP) per year, and since the floods, many have fallen into debt after being forced to take out loans to keep afloat. To keep up with debt repayments, they’ve had to sell the few remaining possessions they have left.

Working with IGSSS, Islamic Relief Waqf funded a project to empower some of the families affected and give them the opportunity to escape the cycle of poverty and debt.

  • 140 families were given agricultural equipment such as seeds, tools and manure so that they can grow food to eat and sell
  • 100 people who had previously made a living from loom-based activities were given the support and equipment needed to resume their carpet weaving and embroidery businesses
  • 100 people received their own sheep which they can breed and use to generate income
    Ali Mohammad Pandith with his sheep donated by Islamic Relief Waqf

    Ali with his sheep and newly born lamb

Ali’s story

For 15 years, Ali Mohammad Pandith was a carpet weaver by trade. However, the floods swept all of his possessions away. With the responsibility of keeping him and his family afloat, Ali turned to money lenders. Unfortunately, this just added to their problems. The family were left in debt and with no prospects or means to escape, trapping them deeper into poverty.

In the immediate aftermath of the floods, IGSSS provided aid relief in the form of food, water and blankets. Now, our joint project has provided the family with two of their own sheep, and the initial stock of food needed to keep the sheep healthy.

After just a few days, the female sheep gave birth.

Ali and his family will be able to keep breeding the sheep until they have a whole flock.

“Providing me with this livestock was the only way to help me overcome the trap of poverty and debt that we are in,” says Ali. “I will rear them properly and increase the number of livestock. Two has already become three, and three will become six. Yes, I can do this.”

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