April 15, 2002  

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Nirmalgram Women’s Dairy, Bhoothathankettu near Kothamangalam


A silent social transformation is taking place in the upper reaches of Idukki District with leadership provided by women.  Nirmal Milk is the brand name of the phenomenon.

Nirmalgram Women’s Dairy, which started in 1990 at Bhoothathankettu near Kothamangalam with 250 members, has in a short period of 7 years grown into a 12000-member organization.  It is now perhaps the biggest women’s organization in South India.  Of the 12000 members about 1000 are adivasis.  Nirmalgram markets 20000 litres of pasteurized milk daily.

The aim of the organization is to equip women to take up leadership role in society, says Executive Director, Fr. Joy Arambankudi.  By giving women economic independence, they are brought into the mainstream of society.

Already about 3000 women members of Nirmalgram are owners of at least one cow.  Milk, to the organization, is a symbol of women’s emancipation.

Nirmalgram’s activities are centred on ‘units’ where members bring milk.  The milk thus collected by the units is transported to the pasteurization plant at Oonjappara.  After processing at the Rs.1 crore plant, the milk in packets is distributed to customers.

For setting up the plant, Rs.70 lakhs had to be availed as loan while shareholders contributed Rs.30 lakhs.  60% of profit is distributed as dividend and balance 40% is used for women’s development activities.

There are 4 veterinary doctors and 6 livestock inspectors employed by the organization to give necessary assistance to the members.  Subsidised fodder grass seed is distributed through the units.

Elected women representatives run the units and the central society.  Abut 250 women work as Secretaries and Assistants at Nirmalgram.



Courtesy: Ashok Kothamangalam, Mahilarathnam.

Contributed by: Administrator


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