The success story of Smt. Poonam of Sagarh Block, Amethi establishes that changes in women’s role in family decisions and attitude towards girls’ education do happen in society through the RGMVP movement.

Poonam is from Chandauki gram panchayat in Sagarh block in Amethi. She joined the movement in 2009. The name of her SHG is “Lakshmi”. Before joining SHGs, her economic was very poor. She was a shy housewife who lacked information and resources. She did not have resources to send her children to school. She had to depend on moneylender for even small expenditures and school expenses and they used to charge a very high rate of interest. Only after joining SHG in February 2009, she got a chance to step out of her home. She got a lot of information through the SHG and VO meetings. Her confidence level increased.

When the bank sanctioned CCL to her SHG, her first loan was for setting up a beauty parlor to be managed by her daughter.  Her next loan from SHG was for starting a Tailoring Centre. For this she took Rs. 40, 000 as a loan. The family started earning income out of these two investments. She also took a loan of Rs. 90, 000 from the SHG at the time of marriage of her first daughter.  She borrowed Rs. 60, 000 from the group for educating her daughters. Her first daughter has done MA and the second did BA.  She also established a mobile phone shop for her daughter and son-in-law by availing Rs. 70, 000 from her group. She has repaid all earlier loans and her balance loan outstanding to the SHG is only Rs. 40, 000 and through regular repayment, she hopes to close it soon. Her financial decisions were wise and investments were calculated. She borrowed to the tune of Rs. 3, 10,000 from SHG on different occasions. She saw opportunities and availed them. She understood the value of educating daughters. She and all her family members, especially daughters are very happy.

When the norm of the society was not to invest too much in girls’ education, Poonam decided otherwise. Despite living in a kuchha house, her focus was to invest in girls’ welfare. She borrowed money and invested in the education of daughters and helped them to establish their livelihoods too. RGMVP has helped Poonam to unlock her potential as a woman and bring happiness, identity, and respect to her daughters.

Nilesh Jain and P S Mohanan, February 2019