Edla Ademma

Name: Edla Ademma
Age: 75
Village: Lanka Dharmavaram

Ademma’s history with BCT goes back over 20 years. She was first introduced to the organisation when an older woman from her village, who sold goods in neighbouring villages, met a BCT volunteer and asked her to come to Lanka Dharmavaram. Up until that point spent any money that they earned without saving, and acquired loans from outside sources that they would have to pay back in kind, that is, with the crops they grew. In this way, they would usually end up paying back more than they had originally borrowed. With the help of the BCT volunteer, Ademma and other women of the village formed a thrift group and began saving. BCT allowed them to take out individual loans in the amount of 2 times their collective savings.

Ademma used a loan to further develop and expand her farm and was able to pay back the loan while at the same time continuing to put money towards savings. Ademma and other villagers then began to participate in BCT’s nursery program. BCT supplied seeds and fertiliser for the villagers to raise. They could then keep what they wanted for their own use and BCT would buy back the rest. Before BCT Ademma knew very little about plants and trees and had no idea she could be cultivating many different kinds. BCT/KVK has given and continues to give her new varieties of seeds and she now grows cashew, mango, and drumstick trees among others.
What Ademma wasn’t aware of at the time the nursery program began was that BCT was also setting aside a small percentage of the women’s earnings to be used collectively on a project of the group’s choice. The women decided to invest in a set of cooking utensils that could be rented by others for special functions. From the fees they collected they were able to expand on the variety of items and were able to make a good profit.

In the early 1990’s the Central Minister for Woman and Child Development visited BCT and its adopted villages in order to observe the nursery activities. On this occasion there was a meeting held at Haripuram, which was attended by top government officials and local self-help groups from 48 villages. Ademma, though illiterate and inexperienced in such affairs, organised and presided over this important meeting with grace, intelligence and efficiency. She presented the problems facing her community with such conviction that she was immediately offered a check for 50,000 rupees to establish the first agricultural college in the area.
Ademma’s accomplishments also include requesting and securing a community borehole, serving as president of the village BCT school committee as well as governing body member of BCT. Like so many of the villagers we talked to who have been involved with BCT, she also emphasises the self-confidence she has gained through her experiences and successes. She proudly relates the story of the day the collector (mayor) was in the area. Ademma went to meet him in order to relate some of the problems her village is facing. He was so impressed with her bold, forthright manner that he asked to have his picture taken with her. He gave her a copy and kept one for himself.

Ademma lost 3 sons while they were still in their childhood. Her fourth son died shortly following the birth of his daughter, who is mentally retarded. She raised and supported her 3 granddaughters and is now also looking after the next generation. Her great-grandchildren are all in BCT schools and she hopes that they will continue and improve on the work and ideas that she and other villages have begun.