Soniya Devi Chaudhary, 54, separates lentils from chaff.
For years Lalitpur — a small, indigenous Tharu village of 22 households — was at risk from the nearby river: the water would rise repeatedly, and quickly, wiping out crops and livestock and forcing families from their homes. Ten years ago the flooding was so bad it killed all the livestock and displaced the entire community.
Mercy Corps’ M-RED program operates in this region — which is highly vulnerable to climate-related disasters — building mitigation structures and helping communities strengthen their livelihoods and prepare for future crises. With Mercy Corps’ support, Soniya’s community worked together to plant sugarcane along the river bank to hold back the water, and began cultivating it in the nearby fields to sell to nearby sugar factories. The flood risk was decreased so much after the planting the community was able to reclaim 40 hectares of land for farming and living, and they continue to grow sugarcane together for income that is invested in shared equipment and resources for the community.
Soniya also participated in Mercy Corps’ financial literacy training and has learned how to save money. She says she now raises pigs and grows other vegetables now that the risk of flooding is lower.