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Bundelkhand Women Farmers Host Spanish Princess Cristina

It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the women farmers of Jhansi to meet a princess. These women, members of the Basant Mahila Farmer Producer Organization, spent about half of Wednesday with Princess Cristina of Spain, the former king's younger daughter.

Shivam Dwivedi
Princess Cristina was greeted by members of the farmers' group and the Actionaid team
Princess Cristina was greeted by members of the farmers' group and the Actionaid team

The Basant Mahila Farmer Producer Organization was established earlier this year as part of Actionaid's Work4Progress programme, which was launched in 2020. The initiative is supported by the La Caixa Foundation, a Spanish non-profit banking organisation of which the princess is a member.

The princess also dedicated the dal and spice processing unit and the agri-junction (a shop where they will package and sell their products) in Simrawari village.

The princess was greeted by members of the farmers' group and the Actionaid team, as well as folk songs from Bundelkhand performed by members of the Sahariya tribal community.

"Women entrepreneurs are working with enthusiasm for their livelihood with the support of Basant Women FPO," said Laxmi, the director of Basant FPO. I am looking forward to strengthening and empowering the women of our FPO, as well as connecting more women with us."

This initiative aims to raise awareness and encourage sustainable living by empowering women from marginalised communities to take advantage of government programmes. In addition, goats, chicks, foundation seeds, vegetable seeds, fruit plants, organic fertilisers, and other materials are distributed to these families to assist them in starting their own businesses.

Several women in attendance at the meeting shared their experiences as new entrepreneurs and the challenges they faced. They spoke of being financially dependent on family members, not having decision-making power, malnutrition, and other issues. The La Caixa team is touring Actionaid projects in various states throughout India.

Marta Solsona, programme manager at La Caixa, stated after hearing and acknowledging their stories, "The main goal of this initiative is to help women assert leadership in matters that concern them, their families, and their communities. Women's leadership contributes significantly to economic solidarity, collective enterprise, and sustainable livelihoods."

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