Smt Jamuna Devi, wife of Shri Ghanashyam, is from  Daulatpur village of Daulatpur gram panchayat in Jagatpur block of Raebareli district. She is from the Pasi community (Scheduled Caste social category). She and her family faced a lot of discrimination. They were very poor. She never went to school. Her social background was such that girls were not sent to school. She was married at the age of 16. In her in-laws’ house, which was mud-walled and thatched, she was not allowed to step out. She felt that she was in jail. Husband used to work in a nearby brick kiln. Though the family had 2.5 bigas of land, it was for three brothers and not properly cultivable. They used to borrow from moneylenders.

All these were things of the past. She joined Saraswati SHG in the year 2008. Savings in SHG was Rs. 20 per month in the beginning.  Her first loan from SHG was Rs. 3,000 for agricultural inputs. When she was able to raise this much money for the family requirement, her status and acceptance level in the household increased. Then she took Rs. 20,000 for a poultry unit. She and her husband ran it profitably, which changed the economic condition of the family. She availed another Rs. 20,000 loan from SHG and expanded the unit. They created assets out of this business. They constructed a pucca house. They constructed a toilet. They have a cow and one or two goats. They also invested Rs. 10, 500 for buying three crossbred piglets, which currently are worth Rs. 30,000. They want to give more focus on pig rearing as it is much more profitable that poultry and less risky.

Even though she herself was unschooled, she is sending her children to a good school. Her daughter is now in class ten and she would educate her children as much as they can study. She learned all techniques of poultry farming and pig rearing. She learned how to make 18 days compost and is using it in her kitchen garden. She has full knowledge about health She is social capital and had gone to Gorakhpur, Bundelkhand, and to other blocks in Raebareli as a community resource person for forming SHGs. Her daughter is in YWSHG. She visits her bank very frequently. She is able to put her signature. She has risen in leadership. She is the president of her Gram Sanghathan named “Om Shanti”. She carries a mobile phone. She is very confident and spreads a lot of energy among other SHG members. She is a powerful social capital in the village and so also in RGMVP.

PS Mohanan, March 2019