Madhuri belongs to Dhodepur Gram Panchayat, Tarabganj block of Gonda district. She is nearly 18 years old. She narrated the benefits of her becoming a member of Young Women Self Help Group (YWSHG), a unique initiative of “Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojana” for adolescent girls. Because of this, she has broken many barriers, continued her studies, derived mutual inspiration among members, reduced the gender discrimination they faced and shaped her path for empowered future.

About 48 months ago, two SHGs of adolescent girls were mobilized, one is “Saheli Young Women Self Help Group” and another is “Sakhi Young Women Self Help Group. This Gram panchayat has five Women SHGs with a Gram Sangathan “Chandani Mahila Gram Sangathan”.

Madhuri is a member of Saheli YWSHG. Eight of the members are from Scheduled Cast community two are from OBC. They have received training and participated in a discussion on Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management, Maternal Nutrition, Maternal Health etc. All the girls are well aware of all the components essential for safe motherhood and they use to assist their mothers or elderly women to understand the seriousness of Maternal Nutrition and Maternal Health.

Monthly savings by members in Madhuri’s group is Rs. 50, which they plan to increase to Rs.100. They save in the group with the help of their parents. They also save small amounts by curtailing their expenditure. They already have a big corpus of Rs.26000. They use this amount for developing their skills, getting admission into schools, joining coaching classes, Silai Centres etc. Now, no girl will be abstained from school or skill development due to lack of resources. Out of ten, nine members have taken loans from her Group.

Madhuri herself has taken more than Rupees Ten thousand in three phases. First she took Rs.4000 for getting admission in Silai Centre. Then Rs.4000 for getting admission in class ten, and last on 6th of February she took Rs.2500 for depositing school fee. She has learned to save and shape her future by herself. Madhuri is currently community volunteer under RGMVP too. She has got in to the empowerment path at early age because of her YWSHG.

Pankaj Srivastava, February 2019