Frontline Stories

Rich Parents, Poor Parents


Parents normally would do anything to make their children’s lives better out of good intention, but sometimes they mess up without even knowing. What can we do to offer them the help and guidance so that their children’s future can become so much brighter? Here are two parents in India who have managed to improve their families’ livelihoods, just because of World Vision’s Graduation Model.


Gulnaz’s husband is a labourer and the entire family was dependent on his meagre earnings. This was never going to be enough, but in this rural context, women are expected to look after the children and cattle, cook meals, do household chores and work in the paddy fields. It seemed that there was nothing Gulnaz could do to help her husband.

That changed when Gulnaz was chosen to take part in the Graduation Model run by World Vision. The two-year programme, which combines elements of social protection, livelihoods development and financial assistance, targets ultra-poor households in the community to help them rise from poverty to sustainable livelihoods through activities such as sewing, animal rearing and petty trading.

Through the programme, Gulnaz and others learnt about business management, income generation and hygiene. “I gained so much confidence from this. We were also made aware of hygiene and cleanliness. We didn’t own a toilet before, but now we have built one. It makes life so much easier. We don’t have to go to the open fields to defecate anymore,” says Gulnaz. She also received a sewing machine to earn an income by sewing clothes.

With her family’s livelihoods significantly improved, Gulnaz is able to provide better education for her daughter Aman. “We could not afford anything before, but now we can send Aman to private tuition. She comes in 1st or 2nd position in her class of around 100 students,” says Gulnaz.


Like Gulnaz, Sudha also lived in abject poverty. In the past, she and her three children would some days go without having a single meal. Her husband is a seasonal labourer and goes wherever he can get work. Just a couple of years back, the family was plagued with all kinds of sicknesses. “We felt so helpless,” she recalls emotionally.

After joining the Graduation Model programme, Sudha chose to rear buffaloes, a decision that has helped in a way she had not thought of before. “We used firewood to cook in the past and would spend a lot of time collecting fallen woods and twigs. Not so much now. We use cow dung for cooking,” she says. Through the buffaloes, she could feed milk to her children and buy a few household items. “Now I feed my children three times a day. I have also learned about the importance of saving money for our future. I have an account and we have saved some money for times of emergencies,” adds Sudha.

“We have been taught a lot on hygiene at home and I have put it into practice. Previously, my children were frequently sick, but now they are healthy. The most important thing I have learnt is to support my children and encourage them to learn,” says Sudha.

She now makes monthly bank deposits for her children’s education. “It’s OK for a woman to earn and men’s mind sets are changing too,” she says holding a baby in one arm and wiping another baby’s hands with a clean cloth.

Published on 1 Jun 2019

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