Location: India

Fate has not been kind to Gomati Harijan, a 40 year old childless widow.

Along with poverty, she has partial blindness that restricts her physical movement and a chronic skin disease.

With her adverse physical condition, she has no option but to fend for herself. “If I work, I get to eat. If I don’t, I have to go hungry. It is as simple as that,” she says in a matter of fact voice.

Loneliness and insecurity compelled her to adopt her eight year old nephew. Despite her countless maladies, an unusual boldness in her enabled her to take these adversities in her stride and move on.

Through Odisha Tribal Empowerment and Livelihoods Programme (OTELP) land allocation intervention, Gomati’s hitherto uncertain life finally had some stability. The OTELP Community Resource Person enlisted her as homesteadless and helped her through the entire process to ensure that she receive legal title to her own home.

Patta (record to land ownership) to a homestead measuring four decimals has given her much more than just a roof overhead – an identity of her own. She now looks forward to a life loaded with dreams and happiness.

“I have an identity of my own. The record to my land ownership has rekindled my repressed hopes. I am ready to dream now.”


This story was submitted by NRMC and was first published by Odisha Tribal Empowerment and Livelihoods Programme (OTELP) with the support of IFAD.