Project Compassion Update: Kaluram
We aim to empower communities and individuals to become independent and their development to become self-sustainable. Thanks to you, Kaluram – who featured in Project Compassion 2011 – is now a farm leader and his life continues to go from strength to strength.
When we first met Kaluram, he was a farm labourer. His field was often empty, he had no regular income and poor health. “We couldn’t always pay school fees. Our [straw] house was a fire hazard,” he said.
When Kaluram heard about the Caritas Farmer Field Schools, he signed up. With an aim to empower small farmers to adopt suitable Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques and realise greater crop yields, household food security and farm sustainability, Kaluram hoped the Farmer Field Schools could help him provide for his family.
I’ve seen many positive changes in their living standards, and this has boosted my confidence too." Kaluram, Nepal
As a result of his participation, Kaluram soon experienced an increase in crop production and in income; and was inspired to learn more.
In October 2012, now working as a Lead Farmer and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Farmer Technician in Nepal, Kaluram attended a five-day farmers’ conference in Thailand organised by Caritas Asia.
At the conference, he learned about open compost-making practice, vermi-composting, mushroom farming, orchid farming, sustainable soil management and agriculture, horticulture, bee keeping and silvipasture (the practice of combining forestry and grazing of domesticated animals in a mutually beneficial way).
While at the conference Kaluram also made a presentation about his participation in Project Compassion and showed the 2011 short film that was made for the annual appeal.
In November 2012, South Asia Program Coordinator for Caritas Australia, Eleanor Trinchera, caught up with Kaluram. He told her that his youngest daughter, Juanita, is now in Year 8 at school; his son, Biplop, is in Year 5; and his eldest daughter, Sushima, has recently married but is still continuing her studies.
He also informed Eleanor that he’s now leading a cooperative of three Farmer Field Schools (FFS), and along with his wife, Sita, is busy with farmers’ activities and IPM. They are happy as they have good rice production which provides them with a better income. Plus they encourage other farmers to make use of the land around their homes, as well as working in the common farm. He said that group farming presents some difficulties, but it helps the farmers’ achieve food security.
Q&A with Kaluram
What are the main changes in your life?
Being able to pay for my children’s educational needs and support my family, as well as sharing technical skills with neighboring farmers so they too can improve their living standards.
Did you ever think your life would turn out like this?
No. If I had not taken this road in life, no-one would know me and I would not be able to be a community leader helping the people in my village. I am very satisfied with everything I have accomplished.
What opportunities have your own stories of change opened for your children?
I can pass on all the technical skills and knowledge that I have acquired to my children. My success has definitely motivated them to learn from me. I feel that by learning these traits they can have a successful and brighter future.
You manage three farmer’s groups. What does this mean?
I’ve taught the farmers technical aspects; I am glad to lead them and evaluate our achievements. I’ve seen many positive changes in their living standards, and this has boosted my confidence too.
What do you think your life would be like if you hadn’t joined the IPM Farmer Field Schools?
If I had not joined and participated, I would probably still be working as hired labour and what I would earn would not be sufficient for my family even for six months.
I would most likely be working as hired labour in a foreign country. I would not be able to lead my community, help others and no one would even know my name.
What would you like to say to the Australian community?
The vision that you had for uplifting marginalised farmers in my community was very successful. We focused on your program and envisioned the change. We’ve been working very hard to make it a success and have embraced it with all our hearts.
I can pass on all the technical skills and knowledge that I have acquired to my children... I feel that by learning these traits they can have a successful and brighter future."Kaluram, Nepal
More on Kaluram and the Integrated Pest Management program