shivia bengal poverty charity logo
Registered Charity Number 1126444

Shivia is a UK registered charity working in India. Our mission is to empower the poorest to create livelihoods, boost income and inspire permanent change.

We have chosen to work in rural West Bengal, one of India’s poorest states, and provide families there with the tools and training needed to start agricultural enterprises that will provide a regular increase in household income.

We aim to promote enterprise and not dependency, and empower the people in most need, particularly women, to work their own way out of poverty and provide a brighter future for their children. In 2017, Shivia was voted International Charity of the Year by the Charity Times.

Image of a small indian boy holding a chicken

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More about Shivia

“I am delighted to be the patron of Shivia. I wholeheartedly support the approach that people should be given the tools to help themselves out of poverty. Through years of practical experience Shivia has developed a really robust livelihood development programme which is making a significant difference to the quality of life of families in West Bengal.” Nick Jenkins, Patron of Shivia

 “When I visit poor communities and speak with women about their lives, they tell me about the daily struggle to give their children a chance at a better life than they had. And a lot of times, one of the most powerful weapons in that struggle is a small flock of chickens.” Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Shivia is changing lives with chickens. We provide women living in poverty with the tools and training to start a small enterprise from home –our life-changing poultry toolkits allow them to earn money by raising chickens and selling the products – eggs and birds. Our poultry toolkits are delivered by our dedicated field team who are recruited from the villages where we work on the outskirts of Kolkata. We call this programme Poultry Development Services.

How can I help?

With a donation of just £15 you could give a woman struggling to support her family one of our life-changing poultry toolkits:

  • 10 one-day-old chicks or ducks (cost = £4)
  • Vaccinations and medications to prevent disease (cost = £1)
  • 2kgs bag of chick feed (cost = £1)
  • Six months of training and mentoring in poultry rearing and financial management from one of our locally recruited field staff (cost = £9)

How do chickens change lives?

Since 2011, we have worked with over 14,500 very poor families in over 1,300 villages near Kolkata and distributed over 76,000 income-generating poultry toolkits. With an average of six members per household, we estimate that our Poultry Development Services programme has impacted the lives of over 87,000 people. The key changes include:
  • Up to 30% increase in household income – farmers can earn £45 from one toolkit in the first year.
  • Women’s lives improve - they are empowered by the capacity to earn and are able to make spending decisions. They are respected by both family and their local community.
  • Children benefit from a healthier diet and access to a better education – when women earn they spend on their family before themselves.

Sabera’s Story

Sabera lives in a village near Kolkata. Two years ago, her husband died after suffering a stroke, leaving Sabera and her three daughters with no source of income and their prospects looking bleak. We introduced Sabera to our Poultry Development Services programme and her life changed completely. With the tools and training we gave her, she started her own back-yard enterprise, raising chickens and selling the produce. Over the next two years she continued to build her enterprise with a few more toolkits, earning a small but regular income to provide for her family. Her daughters did not have to leave school and marry young. They had a healthy diet, with plenty of eggs and chickens readily at hand. Then Sabera used the money, skills and confidence she gained from her poultry faming enterprise to start a new business. She runs a small roadside café selling tea and… guess what? Omelettes!

Image of an indian lady holding a bowl
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