Being a woman in today’s time is tough. Being a poor, uneducated, single mother, from the social category of a Schedule Caste is tougher.

Anarkali a resident of Devpura village, in Haidergarh block, Barabanki district has a story that well depicts the dismal condition of the evils of the society.

Anarkali led a life that most of the people dread of living. Her socio-economical conditions were far than worse.

“Being a woman, I led a very pitiful life. Due to the financial constraints of my family, I could not complete my education and was married off at an early age of 15.  I had no knowledge of anything. My husband was a drunkard, he used to drink and beat me. At the age of 17, I got pregnant and gave birth to a girl child. Things became very difficult for me as I was not aware of any health practices. I had a lot of complications during my pregnancy and I became very weak.”

The situations became worse for her when her husband threw hot oil on her legs resulting in severe burns. To add more to her misery he divorced her and abandoned her from his house.

Things changed for Anarkali when she joined Durga self-help group in 2015. Weekly meetings, facilitated discussions, Training helped her garnered information related to health, agriculture, savings, and livelihood.

Anarkali took money from her SHG on various accounts –

Rs 5000, for opening a shop

Rs 1000, for daughter’s education

Rs 22,000, for agricultural activities

Rs 16000, for purchasing a Buffalo

“The monthly income of my family has now increased. The people of my village now come to me for advice. Apart from my own block, I have traveled to Bahraich, Shravasti, Hardoi and Sitapur district as I was voluntarily working as PIC (Programme Incharge Committee). Being a part of RGMVP, I also got the opportunity of going for Jagriti Yatra. My self-help group transformed me into a completely new and different person who now fights for her rights without any hesitation.”

Anarkali’s courage and determination along with the support of her Self Help Group made her break all the barriers and hierarchies. She holds the position of a President in her SHG.

Sara Saad