Landesa partners with governments and local organizations to ensure the world’s poorest families have secure rights over the land they till. Founded as the Rural Development Institute, Landesa has helped more than 110 million poor families gain secure rights to land since 1967. When families have secure rights to land, they can invest in their land to sustainably increase their harvests and reap the benefits—improved nutrition, health, and education—for generations.
Santolia and Paradip Mahato
Less than one year ago, Santolia and Paradip Mahato and their granddaughter Puja were fundamentally powerless. The family was living in a makeshift thatch hut on land owned by a local landlord. The landlord determined when they worked, how much they earned, who they could work for, and what, if anything, they would eat.
They saw no way out.
Then in February 2014, Santolia along with more than 50,000 other women gained title to a small plot of land through a joint partnership between the government of West Bengal and Landesa.
“I am no longer afraid we will starve.”
Armed with secure rights to that small plot of land, and newfound security, opportunity, and incentive, they built a small house out of tin and thatch, a goat shed, and pigeon coop. “This land helped me to get back the hope that we’ll be able to take proper care of our granddaughter’s education,” said Santolia.
Now, Santolia and her husband can decide where and for whom they labor. They can negotiate a better wage with land owners and eat or sell the produce from their new garden to supplement their wages.
“I am no longer afraid we will starve,” said Paradip. “We have our kitchen garden and can earn more money by selling goats and pigeons.”