93. Earning Respect through SHG: Sheela

Married at an early age, Sheela said that she has felt the pangs of poverty and vulnerability with no sources of livelihood and income in her family from a very young age. She mentioned that it was not just the income that affected their lives, but also the lack of knowledge and information regarding their own health and family. She is a member of Shanti Women Self-Help Group in Sabukpur Gram Panchayat of Baskheri block in Amethi district.

She said that it was very difficult to form SHG in her village.

A village dominated by Upper Caste Thakurs and Pandits, we always felt subjugated and for us, taking a loan was a tedious task and we would generally go to moneylenders which pushed us into the vicious cycle of poverty.

‘The fear persisted even while joining the SHG, but we managed to come together and formed our Self-Help Group in the year 2015’.

She mentioned that with few months of the formation of SHG, changes could be observed in the village as women started stepping out of their house and started discussing income, livelihoods, health which was different from the usual talks they had before.

She has taken a loan from SHG several times. She took small loans of Rs. 5000 for repairing her house and for treatments in early days and later started taking loans for the investment in livelihood activities such as a buffalo of Rs. 20,000 which has now become a sustainable source of income with a profit of Rs.80-90 per day.

Sheela has been a Master Sakhi and also a Community Volunteer and has formed 30-40 SHGs.

She has 2 children, 1 daughter, and 1 son and both are studying.

She said. ‘I want my children to earn respect, I realize the meaning of respect and empathy through my SHG at this age!! But I want my children to learn and become something. And realize their worth from a very young age.’

-Alokita