Umkon Success Story

Umkon         Eight sisters, a remote village, 24 kilometers from the town of Nongpoh and rupees five thousand - unlikely ingredients for a success story – this is the story of a lady’s vision, of hard work, of perseverance and a commitment to the upliftment of her community. This is the story of Angela Maiong, of Umkon Nongtluh village, group leader, teacher and a farmer entrepreneur of rare vision. 38 years old and the fourth of her eight sisters, Angela first came into contact with the office of the District Horticulture Officer, Ri Bhoi District, Nongpoh, in 2002-03, when she approached the office for assistance in taking up horticulture activities. As she and her sisters had already formed a group called the Umkon Nongtluh SHG – I Women Farmers, she was extended assistance of Rs. 5000/- only under the Technology Mission scheme for women farmers. Her reason for approaching the office; she had land but not the resources to utilize it and she and her sisters managed by working as housemaids in people’s houses.

        Having got the funds and after opening a bank account Angela and her group started by cultivating ginger and since then there has been no looking back. Their first acquisition was a power tiller which they purchased through the bank and for which the loan amount has long since been liquidated. Having the power tiller helped them take up other crops like vegetables though their main crop is ginger and over the years their activity has diversified into banana (300 nos), pineapple (30 farmers), carambola (300 nos), broomstick, arecanut (2550 nos), dhania, pudina vermicomposting etc. The group has also taken up Eri silkworm rearing and weaving under the Central Silk Board. The groups’ modest success has catalyzed the formation of another 63 groups of which Angela is the guiding force. Angela was a shy housewife when she first came into contact with the office, but today her self confidence is amazing and she is very much capable of putting her point across in no uncertain terms. What drives her is the vision of her village lifting itself from poverty and of her sisters never having to work for other people again. A typical example of her leadership and the group’s cohesiveness is the pooling of their individual resources in 2007, to set up a school, the Tbeh Jingshai L.P. School, Lumajong, Umkon, and in construction of the school playground on her own land which she gave to the group. With 63 students and three teachers, the school is proving to be a boon for the poor students of the area. She herself is one of the three teachers and the group pays the teachers Rs. 1000/- per month. Appreciating the good work of the group, the RBYF, a social organization, gifted the school with benches and blackboards whereas water was supplied by the PHE Department.