I 275. (November 30, 2019) : Meera Behan Breaks Barriers:

Meera Bahan belongs to a landless Schedule Caste family in Gudre village in Gauriganj block in Amethi district.

Before joining SHG, she always depended on moneylender whenever she needed money for emergency. She did not dare to speak to dominant people in the village as well as in society as she belonged to poor and marginalized community and was considered inferior to others. Her mother used to tell that earlier they were considered even untouchable. Others used to say that they were wearing clean cloths and they should not touch people of lower casts and lower means. Even at the sources of drinking water, there was huge discrimination. Families like that of Meera Behan were in much lower status in education and livelihood/income generating activities also. Earlier, she was not able to access her rights and entitlements from government. There was lot of information gap too. She joined Kamal SHG under RGMVP and Roshani Village Orgnization of SHGs in 2007-8.

Transformation in her life after becoming a member of SHG was incredible. She availed loans for diverse activities one after another.,

  1. Rs 20,000 for eye operation of her mother.
  2. Rs 5,000 for purchasing of one goat. Now she has 14 goats worth Rs 70,000.
  3. Rs 20,000 for buying of diesel engine for irrigation. She takes land on lease basis and cultivates it. This engine lifts water from canal for the irrigation for her agricultural activity. Other farmers are also hiring her engine on payment basis for watering their land.
  4. Rs 20, 000 for establishing motorcycle’s mechanic shop. After completing 12th class, her elder son started this activity.

She is using compost and seed promoted by RGMVP. Because of that, she got more yield i.e.15 bags wheat in place 10 bags of wheat, which used to be the normal yield.

She is only 8th class pass but regarding her children, her ambition is high.

She has three children, middle and younger ones are studying in 10th and primary classes respectively. Elder son, after completing 12th class, is looking after mechanic shop as it was his interesting field.

She has given leadership as CRP in RGMVP. In her VO, she was identified as secretary. Now her income has increased tenfold in comparison to her before SHG income.

She got training on health also, in turn she is disseminating health information to the target group of mothers and adolescent girls.

Through SHGs and federations, she is helping women and their families to understand the merits of Double Fortified Salt, use of sanitary pads by women for menstrual health, “Gomo” nutri- snacks for nutrition, grain bank etc. Now there is no more discrimination in the family as well as in the society. In this way, a new society is being formed by Self Help Group model of RGMVP.

For paving the road in village she, along with other VO members met  Village head/ Pradhan. Pradhan has given assurance to do so. Thus her life is fully transformed. She gives all credit to her SHG and federation for her empowerment and transformation.

Meera Behan says, “I want to make my SHG more rich and powerful, so that it can help us in our big adventures. I want to create more income generating activities. I plan to ensure quality and advanced education for my children. My dream is to bring equality in the society. So I want to help other downtrodden women through this Self Help model”.

K S Yadav, November 30, 2019