Jagriti is a Community Based Organization (registered as a Society) working for empowerment of poor, disadvantaged hill women. We believe that the key to lasting change in iniquitous societal structures lies in nurturing the inherent strengths of vulnerable groups especially women, to change and build a more equitable society.
The Lag Valley despite its proximity to the bustling town of Kullu is still far off; bypassed, as it were, by the winds of change sweeping Kullu valley. A scattered settlement pattern, typical of higher altitudes (above 2400 metres), with livelihood dependence on subsistance rain fed agriculture, livestock rearing and free access to natural resources characterises the economy.
Despite historical isolation, harsh climatic conditions, difficult terrain and poor accessibility, the people popularly called “Lagals”, are known for their grit and perseverance. The people are spread over 12 panchayats in 112 hamlets and sub hamlets living in 3200 households.
On most development indicators like land holding, irrigated area, literacy rate, access to health care and so on, Lag valley is poor.
All this is compounded by a strict caste based conduct code that militates against equity, social and economic justice. Based on location specific indicators of poverty (developed by Jagriti), about 35 percent of population in the valley has been categorised poor. The poorest among these poor usually women, because of work burden, illiteracy, caste factors, remoteness of their villages and small land holdings have limited livelihood options.
The centrality of a woman’s role in agrarian hill societies is clearly evident in the Lag valley. The irony is that she doesn’t know it. Relentless, back breaking work within the household, in the field and with domestic animals make an ordinary woman’s day stretch between 16 and 18 hours. No holidays! Like elsewhere, women own what they wear, except gold. But they do own thoughts in their heads and a vision in their hearts. Which is where Jagriti’s work begin.