I 265. (September 30, 2019) : Urmila spreads her teaching across and stops child marriage

The best way to measure the impact of any model, campaign, idea is by seeing if the teachings are not just limited to individual households but travel across.

Urmila Maurya’s story is one such story of courage, determination, and will to stand against what’s wrong. Urmila hails from a small village of Rustampur in Rahi Block of Raebareli District.

She joined her Self-help group in 2006 and named it Vidya Mahila Swayam Sahayta Samooh.

“Vidya means Education. The reason we named our group Vidya is because our self-help group gave us teachings that we couldn’t get elsewhere. As most of the woman like me haven’t completed their education due to some family issues. Our Self-help group became our school.”

Adversity doesn’t last forever if you work towards making the situations better. The SHG helped Urmila in meeting her financial needs. Urmila borrowed –

Rs 10,000 for renovating an existing shop of her husband

Rs 10,000 for freeing a mortgaged land              

Rs 20,000 for expanding the shop

Rs 40,000 for a daughter’s wedding

Rs 20,000 for purchasing a buffalo

Rs 40,000 for son’s business

Apart from financial gains, Urmila garnered a lot of information about various health practices and agriculture. Urmila took an active interest in the health teachings and spread it across her village. From maternal health, neonatal and child health Urmila learned a lot. She put her teachings to use when she stopped a child-marriage in her village.

“In our village, one family was marrying off their 15 years old daughter saying she is now grown up. I stopped the marriage by making them understand the consequences of child marriage. I told them that by marrying their daughter at such an early age they are risking her health as she is not physically ready for marriage and bearing a child. I told them about the technical aspects of the womb and how the womb of young girls is not ready until they are of 18 years of age. She understood my point and didn’t marry her daughter. Right now, her daughter is studying in school.”

That’s what happens when you educate a woman. Educating a woman helps society grow. As the woman does not limit her teachings to herself, she spreads it. When a woman is educated, she becomes empowered to change not only her own life but also the lives of those around her: her children, her family, her friends, her community. Urmila’s story is proof of it. 

Sara