91. Phoolmati’s Success
Poolmati, wife of Gagan of Pure Kalandar of Gadha Gram Panchayat in Chattoh block, Amethi district is a very confident and happy woman today. That was not the case when she was brought in marriage to the village at the age of 16. Her life was a story of struggle with no proper house to live, with not even place to sit. She was illiterate, and there used to be regular quarrels in the family and husband used to leave home for long periods leaving her at the mercy of the in laws. When the women of RGMVP were organizing SHGs in the village five years ago, she wanted to join, but was very much afraid. Just at the mention of her intention, the husband quarreled and went out and returned only in the evening. In the meanwhile, he heard that the women are not cheaters and though with reluctance gave her Rs. 25 as her first savings to join the SHG. At that time, he too never thought that it was going to be a turning point in their poverty stricken life.
The SHG process made Poolmati a different and capable woman. Initially she was reluctant to take loan because of fear of default. Her first loan was Rs. 1000, which she used to buy inputs for cultivating the family owned land. After repaying it, she became confident and took a loan of Rs. 10,000 to make her shelter in a livable condition. Then she took Rs. 8000 and purchased a second hand scooter for her husband to go for some work or miscellaneous jobs even at some distant place. Her next venture was to set up a provision store for her husband to manage and earn a livelihood. This shop is their major livelihood as of date. They don’t have any children. Poolmati’s leadership qualities improved in the process and she is volunteering to help in various activities of the SHGs and Village organization in the village. She is very embowered and she is not afraid to go and meet the authorities like Block Development Officer for the cause of the poor women of the village.
P S Mohanan, January 2019.