In the hilly state of Uttarakhand, this young lady is quietly making a difference in the lives of the youth.
Divya Rawat started a business of cultivating mushrooms to the stop migration of young people from the state to other metro cities in search of livelihood.
Right from childhood, she had a soft corner for the villagers and people of Uttarakhand. After completing her schooling, she decided to pursue her graduation in social work. Divya later joined an NGO working on human rights issues but she wanted to do something for the people of Uttarakhand. Kedarnath floods of 2013, came as a major setback to the state. It left many people homeless while some started to migrate to nearby cities. That is when she decided to do something for the people of Uttarakhand. She says, “I quit my job immediately when I came to know the condition of people and immediately planned to restore the situation. I couldn’t see people migrating to other places in search of jobs and living in pathetic conditions there, surviving with menial incomes.”
Kedarnath floods of 2013, came as a major setback to the state. It left many people homeless while some started to migrate to nearby cities. That is when she decided to do something for the people of Uttarakhand.
“After doing a complete study on the geographical conditions of Uttarakhand, I thought of growing mushrooms, which perfectly suited to climatic conditions here, as well as, would fetch more in terms of money. I wanted to make, growing mushroom, a household project. For this, I went to Thailand for formal training of growing and experimenting with mushrooms. This is a concept modelled on Thailand model where they use techniques to grow and invest accordingly,” she added.
Divya decided to grow three varieties of mushroom oyster, button and milky mushroom, which were best suited to the climatic conditions of Uttarakhand and can be easily grown indoors.
“All these three varieties can be grown under one roof which doesn’t require air conditioning. We grow mushrooms throughout the year. I have a team of young girls and boys who help me with mushroom production. We have many customers in and around the city.”
Divya’s parents initially didn’t support her in her plan but gradually when things started going better, her parents helped in funding the business. She started her company called Soumya Foods Pvt. Ltd. Through this initiative, she grew mushrooms in bulk and provided employment opportunities to many.
The number of mushroom farmers in the state has increased now. “She says,” I encourage people to grow mushrooms and even share the techniques of growing in their own places efficiently. I have also given some formal training to people and many come from across the country to know the techniques.”
The migration has stopped to some extent. Mushroom farming in the state is rapidly growing. I am hopeful that this step of mine would bring change in the lives of many farmers of Uttarakhand in the coming years,” she said with a smile on her face.
We hope that Divya’s efforts will change the lives of villagers and farmers in Uttarakhand eventually.