71. Fatima Begum’s Success Story

How did illiterate Fatima Begum become strong enough to stand on her own after the death of her husband? She had been a member of Azad SHG in Kaniya Narayanpur village in Badagaon block of Varanasi district since 2014. Her family occupation is weaving. Before joining SHG, the family used to borrow from moneylenders to meet the working capital requirement. The rate of interest varied from 60% – 120 % per annum. She could completely stop borrowing from moneylenders once she joined SHG. So far she has availed working capital 12 times from her SHG at 2 % per month. After the untimely demise of her husband, she and her children got tremendous support from the SHGs and their village federation called Durga.  The women of the village organization gave her tremendous moral support. The SHGs ensure perfect harmony in the village. Fatima Begum attends all meetings of her  SHG and village organization. One can see that the village federation is even having the role of a religious reconciliation centre in the village. Fatima attributes her success solely to the SHG, VO and the sisterhood of the members. Nobody in the village who is in SHG now borrows from moneylenders and this is a remarkable achievement for the SHGs. The greatest strength Fatima feels today is the financial security she has from out of the women collective.

P S Mohanan, January 2019