I 263. (September 17, 2019) :  Seema changes her fate : 

“There’s not a thing that Indian rural woman can’t do, provided they are given the right platform to enhance their skills.” – said Seema with big black determined eyes.

The rise of Indian rural woman in running multiple livelihood activities and decision making has carved a model of new emerging Rural India that doesn’t hesitate from providing women with the opportunities with the concept of self-help.

Seema, a 38-year-old woman from Pure Hansa Village of Rahi Block, Raebareli district is an independent, empowered woman who is now a successful seed producer.

“Didi, I come from a family where girls were not educated. I fought a lot and completed my 12th standard. I got married at the age of 21 since then I was subjugated to household chores. I was under the veil all the time. The only time I stepped out of the house was when I had to go to the maternal house that too some male member of my house accompanied me. I didn’t even know the routes in my village. I couldn’t recognize the villagers by their faces because I couldn’t see them as I was under the veil all the time.”

Seema’s initial story is a story of every second woman living in the rural villages of India. The deep-rooted hierarchies and barriers that rural woman have to go through have been prevalent for a very long time. The patriarchal society has emerged these barriers but women like Seema who don’t submit to silence and fight against these inequalities are changing the course of things.

Seema joined Gayatri Mahila self-help group in 2011 when some woman from her village came to her house and told her the benefits of being in a self-help group.

“I started to save monthly and garnered knowledge on various issues of health and agriculture. When I learned that pregnant women are not supposed to lift heavy things and should go for checkups, I realized that I have been doing these things wrong. I lost one child soon after conceiving it. My SHG taught me about maternal health and the precautions one should take, the different varieties of food, etc. Apart from health, I also learned a lot about different agricultural practices. I now produce my seed, I know how to make compost, jeevamrit, and ghanjevamrit. I follow the SRI and SWI methods.”

This year Seema produced 16 quintals of Wheat out of which she sold 10 quintals. 5 quintals of Grain and 5 quintal seed. She also invested money in her husband’s shop by taking out 25,000 from her SHG, Rs 10,000 for children education, Rs 15000, for purchasing a cow and again Rs 20,000 for purchasing another cow.

Seema turned her life upside down by mere hard work and dedication. She quotes “Didi, God only helps those who help themselves. I helped myself by joining my self-help group. Being born a poor isn’t your fault, but remaining in poverty is your fault. One can not blame the circumstances you should stand up and change your fate.”

Now Seema has become an expert in health. She goes to the villages and disseminates information on best practices of maternal, neonatal and child health. She has become a powerful resource and not only has empowered herself but many other women too.

Sara