Tractor appeal for the SKSN Disabled Kids Farm -- a self-sustainable, skill-enhancement initiative. Please help underprivileged, disabled kids to buy a second-hand tractor + accessories for their farm. Saving on a yearly hire charge of ₹1,95,000 for the tractor means, this machine could become a self-owned, valuable, farm asset, within a 3-year period!
Something about the little farmers This farm is a legacy of the Coronavirus pandemic! It belongs to the 243 socially excluded, and economically-deprived, rural disabled students of SKSN (Sucheta Kriplani Shiksha Niketan), who were suddenly forced to go home in the middle of their exams, when India went into its first complete lock-down, way back in March 2020! Please meet the SKSN community!
August 2020: Six months on! When it became evident that the Coronavirus lock-down was set to continue indefinitely, some SKSN disabled students, who either didn't have homes to go to, or who had been kicked out of their homes by parents buckling under the Corona chaos, started showing definite signs of mental, emotional, and psychological trauma. They were worried about their education. They missed their school buddies. And they were scared for their future. The normal lively SKSN, buzzing with laughter and spirit, started looking more like an archaeological monument. Quiet and lifeless! This is when they decided to start a farm -- with a little help from the SKSN management team!
No water. No farm... Their first job was to find water for irrigating the crops! This meant drilling a bore-well. A similar exercise in 2003 produced only brackish water. Not even fit for farming -- let alone drinking!
This time, the water gods were consulted. And guess what? Sweet palatable, drinking water was found at a depth of 850 feet. Good enough for SKSN's kids, and a great omen for the start of the SKSN Disabled Kids Farm!
The farm begins to take shape... Every inch of SKSN's 20-acre campus was combed for unused land that would be suitable for farming! Armed with land and water, SKSN's student farmers went into partnership with a local farming family, to cultivate the farm, and gain vital agricultural and project management skill-sets!
The impact of the SKSN Disabled Kids Farm This farm has been a godsend in so many ways. It's given SKSN's orphan and homeless kids, and the skeleton staff, space to nurture themselves, care for their crops, and spend their time productively...
The farm has provided them with a purpose to keep their minds occupied -- allowing them to swap their stress and despair, for much-needed healing and emotional peace!
The farm's first harvest... A total of just over 90,000 kilograms of vegetables have been harvested, from the winter agricultural season alone. Yes, you read it right! What a bumper crop graciously given by a small 15-acre piece of land! The little farmers have worked their hearts out, and grown carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, aubergines, tomatoes, onions, garlic, methi, and pudina. Here's a little glimpse of what went on, on their farm!
During the 3-month duration between January and April 2021, the farm supplied the SKSN boarding school kids with 3,250 kilos of assorted vegetables. Of the 90,000 kilos of produce, 2,700 kilos of garlic, onions and methi are being held in storage for the SKSN disabled kids. The farm already has, and will continue to provide the SKSN student community, with low-cost, fresh vegetables -- for as long as the farm survives!
The all-important tractor appeal... The bumper winter crop, from the SKSN Disabled Kids Farm, has validated the reliability of the farm project concept, which got initiated with seed funding from SKSN.
And now that the challenge of a continual supply of palatable water has also been successfully resolved through the SKSN bore-well, it will help make the SKSN Disabled Kids Farm all the more self-sustainable -- if they can buy their own tractor and accessories. This would allow SKSN's little farmers to monetise the tractor's full potential for their own farming program -- instead of putting a goodly chunk of their hard earned valuable profits into the pockets of outsiders -- to pay for the same recurring tractor unit hire cost -- every year!
The tractor, trolley, disc plough, cultivator, and water tanker, are all essential agricultural tools for the survival, and future success, of the farm:
1) The in-house tractor unit, will provide an annual saving of almost ₹1,95,000, when utilised in the SKSN farmers own agricultural fields, during the summer and winter agricultural seasons.
2) The in-house tractor and water tanker will be used for watering the 536 lime saplings, and 50 fruit trees, planted in and around the SKSN boarding school campus -- saving on additional hire charges!
3) During the agricultural seasons, the in-house tractor unit can be hired out to outside farmers, who don't own a tractor themselves.
4) And during the non-agricultural period, the tractor will be used to deliver palatable drinking water (from the SKSN bore-well) to the nearby villages, by the tanker-load -- at a cost, adding to the SKSN farm's earning sources.
Should all the above income-generating avenues fall into place, it is more than possible for the tractor unit to pay for itself in less than the 3-year timescale.
The SKSN Disabled Kids Farm has created a new sustainable skill-enhancement and income source for SKSN, at a very vulnerable point in its life. This farm has to survive and live on!
Messages from the managers of the SKSN Disabled Kids Farm... SKSN farm managers, Narendra (on the left) and Janak Singh (on the right), are both ex-SKSN students, and currently employed by SKSN. Their farm has lovingly encouraged them to cultivate, and add, project management skills to their bows! They want you to know...
Narendra says: "The lock-down has been very cruel to me. This, and my disability, got me kicked out of my home! I had nowhere to go to. SKSN stood by me yet again, and gave me the chance to work on the SKSN farm project, when everything, everywhere, has been shutdown. It feels as though I'm working for our own family concern. I'm in-charge of the money, and I keep all the farm accounts, in Excel, on my computer. I've learnt so much during the lock-down -- including how to cook! The farm provides our SKSN family with food, livelihoods, and an income from the surplus vegetables we sell to the Jodhpur vegetable market."
Janak Singh says: "We love eating the veggies from our farm, because they are so fresh and tasty! And when we are out and about, we love eavesdropping on the villagers. They are always gasping: "look at the incredible crop of vegetables growing in the SKSN disabled kids farm. Wow!" Listening to their remarks, makes us very happy. We promise, we are going to do everything in our power to make the SKSN Disabled Kids Farm a success. We have invested our hearts and minds in this beautiful garden, because it belongs to us!"