Shugufta’s inspiring journey from curiosity to passion showcases how beekeeping, supported by organizations like JKRLM, can transform lives and uplift communities, creating sustainable livelihood opportunities in rural areas.
By Tauheed Ahmad
Shugufta’s story is a shining example of how individuals can transform their lives and contribute to the development of their community through initiatives supported by organizations like the Jammu and Kashmir Rural Livelihoods Mission (JKRLM). From Hive to Honey
Through her association with the Tobia Self-Help Group (SHG), Shugufta has not only transformed her own life but has also become a means for the development of her community. Her story stands as an inspiration, showcasing the potential of individuals to thrive and contribute to society through the support of such organizations.
Shugufta’s journey as beekeeper begins in Sangarwani—a remote village surrounded by rolling hills, lush meadows and enchanting orchards in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
‘One fateful day, I visited a local apiary and had the chance to witness beekeepers in action. The sight of bees buzzing harmoniously, their teamwork and dedication, left an indelible impression on my heart. I knew I wanted to be a part of this incredible journey,” Shugufta said.
‘Each time I don my beekeeping suit, I am reminded of the incredible journey that led me here. From a spark of curiosity to a deep-rooted passion, beekeeping has given me purpose and a profound sense of connection with the natural world, she said.
Driven by the relentless passion for beekeeping, Shugufta is aiming to expand her business by adding more bee colonies—thus enriching our honey production and opening new doors to the world of opportunities, she said.
‘Beekeeping has become more than a hobby; it’s a way of life for me now,’ she added.
‘Trough the seasons, I’ve learned to read the signs of the hive, understanding when they need care or when they are thriving,’ she said.
During the winter season, we undertake outside state migration, moving bees to Rajasthan for a specific period—this allows our bees to benefit from the favorable climate and abundant floral resources available there, she said.
Alternatively we also move our bee colonies to pampore during winter season– she added.
To keep bee colonies warm in Kashmir’s chilly winter season, we employ our several methods to insulate hives, providing additional supplement feeding, and ensuring proper ventilation—ensuring to provide them a conducive environment for survival and productivity, she added.
The Power of SHGs and JKRLM:
The Tobia Self-Help Group (SHG) acted as a stepping stone for Shugufta’s remarkable journey. These groups, fostered by the JKRLM, provide individuals with a platform for collective learning, support, and entrepreneurship. Through the SHG, Shugufta gained access to vital guidance, mentorship, and financial assistance that empowered her to explore new avenues.
Earlier, I used to be held captive by fear—after getting training from the JKSRLM I have transformed into a professional beekeeper—I overcame my apprehensions towards the bees, she said.
Now I take joy in sharing knowledge, skills and imparting training to others keen to learn beekeeping, she added.
Unleashing Potential through Beekeeping:
With the guidance and support of the SHG, Shugufta discovered her passion for beekeeping. Recognizing the potential of this venture, she underwent training and skill development programs, equipping her with the knowledge to embark on her journey as a beekeeper. Today, beekeeping has become Shugufta’s primary source of income, enabling her to create a sustainable livelihood for herself and her family.
“Beekeeping became a transformative experience for me. It taught me patience, resilience, and the importance of nurturing delicate ecosystems. It allowed me to connect with a community of like-minded individuals, all driven by a shared passion for bees and the environment.”
“Through research, workshops, and the guidance of experienced beekeepers, I immersed myself in the art and science of beekeeping. Every step of the journey deepened my love for these incredible insects and fueled my dedication to their well-being.”
Community Impact and Empowerment:
Shugufta’s story goes beyond personal triumph; it reverberates throughout her community. As she thrives in her beekeeping business, she has become an inspiration for others in her locality.
Her success has ignited a spark of hope and motivation, encouraging fellow community members to explore their own potential. Through her entrepreneurial endeavors, Shugufta has played an instrumental role in uplifting the socioeconomic status of her community, contributing to its overall development.
Buzzing with excitement, our SHG group members comprising 35 girls have developed their passion for the apiary—this resonates their collective enthusiasm poised to embark on their beekeeping adventure, Shugufta said.
The Role of JKRLM and Similar Initiatives:
The Jammu and Kashmir Rural Livelihoods Mission (JKRLM) exemplifies the power of organizations dedicated to fostering sustainable development and empowering individuals like Shugufta. Such initiatives provide the necessary support, resources, and training to unlock the potential of individuals in rural areas.
By enabling them to identify and pursue viable livelihood opportunities, these organizations create a ripple effect, transforming not only the lives of individuals but also the socioeconomic landscape of entire communities.