I 262. (September 16, 2019) : Shaher Bano’s transformation through SHG: 

Sometimes, upliftment of the poor through SHG might be a long journey. However it makes the immune system in poor very strong. SHGs empower them to fight with poverty and finally succeed in ensuring a bright future, in the long run. On the contrary, other bailout systems can help people temporarily only. It also makes people dependent on others and makes them weak in self-confidence.

Most poor women have all qualities of good entrepreneurs. They have good managerial skills. They always invest their loan money only in those livelihoods in which they are very confident. Since, loan is to be repaid during decided time frame and profit is also to be earned from the livelihood, women choose their activities and investments after great thinking.

In a group meeting of SHGs, I saw one Muslim bahan who was looking happy and showing keenness to tell something. I requested her to share something about herself. In her response, we got very inspiring story. She is Shaher Bano Bahan. She joined Jai Shri Ram SHG, Shiv Mahila VO in November 26, 2013. Saving in the SHG is Rs 100/member/month.

She belongs to landless, minority family. Before SHG, they depended on the income from daily wage/ labour work to meet out family expenditure. Many times, due to not getting any wage for many days, the family was in miserable condition. In such conditions, there was no support of any kind from neighbors and relatives; family did not even have food in those days. Moneylender used to lend at the interest rate of 10% per month after mortgaging of ornaments etc. They were staying in a thatched mud house. She felt herself of no value or consequence in the family as well as in society. Even she could not dare to go out side the house without permission. There was neither saving nor even the thought regarding savings in their mind. Thus life was very pathetic. Every thing changed after she joined SHG.

She has taken multiple loans from her SHG for livelihood activities:

  1. Rs 10,000 for rearing two goats. So far, she has sold 15 goats for Rs 42,000 from out of this small investment in goat rearing. Still she has 4 goats in her house.
  2. Rs 16,000 for leasing one bigha of land for cultivation by her family. Now they are getting good yield from this land.
  3. Rs 10, 000 for peddler shop of cloths. In addition to loan, she used some income of goats in this shop and remaining income from goat rearing was used in the house.

Now, she has a half-pakka house. Her all five children are going to school. Besides Rs 100 per month saving in SHG, she is doing additional saving Rs 1000- 1500 per month in her individual account. She has three income generating activities i.e., Agriculture, Goat rearing and cloth business. From cloth shop, she is getting Rs 400-500 per day as earning. She has developed leadership qualities through the SHGs and village federations. In RGMVP, She is a trained community resource and she supported the programme as Meeting Sakhi. She was Secretary in her VO and now she is Secretary in BO too. Now, her family involves her in all decisions in the family. In society also, she gets respect. She is an example as to how the SHG model transforms the life of poor.

K S Yadav, September 16, 2019.