Devi Dei of Pure Naya of Gaura block in Raebareli district is a member of Jai Ma Lakshmi SHG. She joined her group in December 2014. She was married to a poor household with one bigha of land. She lived in a kuchha house. There was no livelihood source other than sustenance cultivation on the land. She was indebted to moneylender before joining SHG.

She lacked self-esteem and self-confidence. She was not part of any family decision making though she had to shoulder the burden of the whole family.  She was not allowed to step out of the home and mingle in the society despite being educated up to inter.  Her main concern was the education of her children, as she did not have the necessary resources.

Her first loan from SHG was Rs. 12, 000 to redeem herself from the moneylender. She then took Rs. 6, 000 for the purchase of goats. Then she took Rs. 20, 000 for some social commitment at home. Her next loan was Rs. 10, 000, for the education of children. She also took Rs. 10, 000 for agriculture purpose. Her last loan was Rs. 15, 0000, for the purchase of a cow.

Now she has a sufficient source of livelihood. She got agriculture, cow, buffalo, and goats. She is empowered and feels a better social status.  Her status at home also improved. She is now an integral part of family decisions. Her greatest achievement is freedom from a moneylender. She has improved her agricultural skills and now the family is getting a good yield from the land. She is proud to say that she is now taking care of her family. She is an Ajeevika Sakhi (agricultural volunteer) and helps others to learn composting, seed management and better agriculture. She has also knowledge about important aspects of preventive health care and nutrition.

Dhirendra and P S Mohanan, February 2019