I 203. (April 3, 2019): Rekha Devi breaks barriers and emerges as a social capital in her block:   


Rekha Devi’s educational background is 8th class. She was poor and also married to an economically poor household in a village in Amethi. The husband was not doing any thing particular for earning a livelihood. She had to give birth to four daughters and one son. As in many families, she had to go on giving birth till she got a son. That was the norm. She had no role in the family matters and family decision making. She was in bandan (barriers) in many ways. She had to be always under purdha. She used to feel that nobody was helping her and always felt neglected. In 2007 she had to undergo an operation and as there was no resources, she had to borrow Rs. 2000 from a moneylender. Though the family had 2.5 bigha of land, the agricultural produce was not sufficient enough for the family.

She joined Suraj SHG under RGMVP on 24th July 2008 stealthily, when the CRP women from Andhra Pradesh visited her village and formed SHGs. She joined the group with a different name lest her mother-in-law and other members of the family would come to know of it.

She had learned stitching while at mother’s place. Her first loan from SHG was Rs. 500 for education of children. She took Rs. 5000 from the group and using that amount helped her sister-in-law who was in dire need of some money and also purchased a sewing machine for herself. She started earning money by stitching clothes for neighbours and repaid the loan without difficulty. She was a good communicator and started displaying leadership qualities. RGMVP facilitator used to give her opportunity to speak to women. Once her mother-in-law happened to see her speaking to a large group of women and she was impressed. She gave her permission to associate with the SHGs and she started to be known by her original name. Husband also appreciated her knowledge and her status in family changed. She was allowed to visit Andhra Pradesh for learning and exposure visit organized by RGMVP.

She took Rs. 3000 from SHG and started a vegetable shop for her husband. Major support from SHG came when her husband had an accident and went in to a coma. She took loan from SHG to the tune of Rs. 80,000 and husband. He recovered fully. The village organization and Block organization were compassionate and helped her by collecting Rs. 10,000 for her husband’s treatment. She also took Rs. 30,000 for purchase of a buffalo and installing a pup set for agricultural purpose. Family land is better utilized now and her husband is also involved in agriculture. Meanwhile she has risen in leadership in the SHG system. Currently she is providing leadership in RGMVP as a Community resource development Institution Member, associating with the health behavior program. One of her daughters is already married off and two are members of YWSHG. She gradually broke all barriers, got full acceptance and recognition in the family and the whole family is happy. She is a social capital in community mobilization, agricultural practices and health behavior change in not only in her village but also very active in her village organization called Sati Maharani and block organization named Pavitra in Amethi block.

P S Mohanan, April 3, 2019