I 214. (May 09, 2019): Gyanvati – A Jubilant Social Capital:  

Always ready to give heath tips, especially to pregnant women, this jubilant village lady of Chari ka Purva in Pahadpur Gram Pachayat in Amava, Raebareli is very passionate, social as well as vocal. Her story of success is incredible. Her jovial nature betrays the hardships she faced in the past due to extreme poverty. She is Gyanvati.

Gyanvati had never been to school. She lived in a mud house with her husband and two children. Her husband was casual laborer. Sometimes her husband worked in brick kilns. They did not have any land to cultivate. At a time when she needed Rs. 100 for medicine, nobody was willing to help. She had to pawn her sister’s earrings for Rs. 100. Most often they had to resort to borrowing from moneylenders. As a village woman, she was very much shy and was confined to her own thatched house.

She joined the SHG named Ritu in the year 2008. However, her husband was against her going for SHG meetings. He was afraid that going out and mixing with others may lead to her leaving him and going away with somebody else. He used to beat her. Despite all the obstacles, she found merit in the SHG.

Her first loan from SHG was Rs 5000 for purchase of a cow. It yielded four liters of milk out of which she sold two liters and started earning Rs. 60 per day. Encouraged, her next loan was Rs. 25000 with which she purchased a buffalo. Her economic condition started improving and her husband started appreciating her empowered status. She focused on educating her children. She had two boys and a girl. She also took loan from SHG to the tune of Rs. 35,000 at different time for education of her children. Her daughter is now doing BA final year. She also invested in a sewing machine. Now she has a provision store, two buffaloes, one cow.  Another incredible achievement is that she purchase 10 biswa of land in her name. She has also constructed two brick walled rooms for her family.

She got a new recognition and identity through her SHG. Going for SHG training was a great achievement for her. She allocated time for giving leadership in the SHGs and became a resource person. She availed opportunities and went to other districts for organizing Self Help Groups. She travelled in a team from Jais Railway Station to Jhansi for mobilizing SHGs in her role as a community resource person. This was her first trip to the world outside her block and this made her very strong.

She was quick in learning and she learned all best practices in maternal and child health. She has also learned the technology of making compost in 18 days. She very much likes to counsel women on better heath and maternity care. Her SHG is functioning very well even after 10 years. She is a happy woman full of hope and never ever thinks about poverty.

P S Mohanan, May 09, 2019