Photo courtesy of South Vihar Welfare Society for

Photo courtesy of South Vihar Welfare Society for Tribals

Sanjay Tigga of Lowatoli village in Jharkhand state, India, began cultivating flowers after he attended a 2009 training on horticulture. The training was organized by South Vihar Welfare Society for Tribals, a partner of Mennonite Central Committee that reaches out to indigenous people. With the help of his wife Susana, he now raises flowers, primarily gladiolas and marigolds, using worm composting and manure to fertilize them.

By selling the flowers in a nearby city of Ranchi and establishing connections with buyers who come to purchase his flowers, Tigga said he easily pays for the education of his two sons, Ashish and Ankit, at a nearby Christian school. Now he is a role model for his community of 380 people, who predominantly farm rice, pulses, wheat and vegetables.

Tigga is teaching other farmers how to raise flowers too, and he has big goals: “With the help of my farmer brothers, I will supply flowers to the big market. I want to help the tribal community, and flowers should bring happiness and more color into the life of my own family and community.”