The next crop of landowners

Meet the women in Odisha, India who have been approved to receive titles to their own plot of land. Click on the photos below to begin this photo essay with captions.

Landless women who will soon receive new plots of land

These women in Odisha, India, have been approved to receive titles to land, thanks to the work of India’s first Women’s Land Rights Facilitation Center, which opened on International Women’s Day one year ago.

New land title holders in Odisha

These women were poor, landless, and desperate. Money was so scarce; many of them had to send their children off to work as soon as they were physically able. And even then, they struggled with hunger.


Kuni, 33, is a single mother who spends almost half of her daily wages on rent for a room for her and her children (a 10-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son). She barely manages to get food on the plate. With land she hopes to build her own small home and grow a kitchen garden, saving what she earns for a better future.


Sabita, 32, is a mother to twin daughters and lives with her father. Her children are the light of her life and she is struggling to keep them in school. She says having her own land will give her and her girls a more secure future.


Kuntala looks much older than her 35 years. “Food is a daily struggle and depends on my son finding daily work,” she says. With most of what her son brings home going for rent, she hopes a land title will allow her to build a hut and have more food on the table.

Subha with her daughter Jhunu

Subha, 55, lives in a small hut with her divorced daughter. Without land she worried about how she and her daughter would survive and stay safe. Now, they both dream of building a better life after getting a land title.


Reena, 22, lives with her terminally ill husband and two young children in a dilapidated hut. She is looking forward to the opportunity to grow food for her children on her own patch of land.


Abanti, 40, crushes stones all day long at a quarry to earn approximately one dollar. With this dollar she must support her family of three. She smiles at the thought of living on land she can call her own.

Landless women who will soon receive new plots of landNew land title holders in OdishaKuniSabitaKuntalaSubha with her daughter JhunuReenaAbanti
Parvinder Singh

About Parvinder Singh

At the time this piece was written, Mr. Singh was the India Communications Manager for Landesa India based in Delhi.
This entry was posted in Women's Land Rights and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The next crop of landowners

  1. Pingback: India’s Newest Landowners Signal a Sprouting Revolution | Omsai Estates

  2. Norman Campbell says:

    I’m very happy and delighted for these ladies in hoping of getting a secured platform on which they all can build a more secured economic future for their children and grandchildren and themselves. I wish them all the God of heaven and earth richest blessing.
    Your true friend, Norman, from Jamaica

  3. Landesa Landesa says:

    Thank you for your comment

  4. Pingback: Sally Osberg on Front Page of Huffington Post « Skoll Foundation

  5. Pingback: Women's Land Rights Bring Wide Benefits | Care2 Causes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

From Our Blog

Anisa Draboo

Why the Modi government must work on land reform before land acquisition

This article originally appeared in India’s economy has already crossed $2 trillion and is growing annually at around 6%. But these figures cannot hide the fact that 69% of the population is rural, and 70% of this, or nearly …
Read More

Reem Gaafar

Fighting for Her Farm and Her Daughters

To view this photo essay slideshow, click the photo thumbnails below the main photo. Photos courtesy of Deborah Espinosa

Tim Hanstad

Not Your Land: How the Development Community Evicted the Poor

This article originally appeared in Foreign Affairs. The World Bank recently acknowledged a troubling fact: While working to rid the world of poverty through projects that required moving millions of people, such as dam construction, urban renewal, and rural development, …
Read More

On Twitter