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Murray & Janet Frankland, founders of Salt of the Earth, visit the ‘model village’ Sevalkulam, in the Ottapidaram block to view the new fish culture initiative at the village ooranie (rainwater harvest tank). SCAD have been working with this village for around 20 years and have successfully established: Women’s Self Help Groups, supplementary education, energy management, sports youth groups, vetinary camps, income generating initiatives, health education, micro insurance, nutritional demonstrations, tree plantation, organic kitchen gardens, bio-char trial plots – as a result village life has changed dramatically for these 120 families.
The fish culture initiative alone brings in a significant annual income that is managed by the Village Water Committee (a voluntary group of dedicated village members). This income provides 1% interest loans for families for income generating purposes as well as ensuring the sustainability of the project through ooranie maintenance. The fish are also extremely important in supplementing the village diet. Tree saplings have been planted around the ooranie which will provide vital shade and will reduce water evaporation rates. With these successful trials SCAD aims to roll out the fish culture initiative in 25 more villages with access to ooranies in 2012.