Pushpa Devi is a member of Deepak Mahila self-help group, in Pure Nandi village, of Dalmau block, in Raebareli district. She joined her SHG in the year 2012. She is the president of her self-help group and Village Organisation.

Before joining the SHG, I had no information regarding my basic rights and entitlements. Though I was a graduate, I still used to struggle with talking in public.

After joining the SHG, she learned about financial inclusion and started to save monthly. She took money from her SHG on various occasions –

Rs 1000 for agricultural purposes

Rs 25,000 for purchasing a Cow

Rs 30,000 for the peppermint processing plant

Savings became an integral part of the SHG meeting. She earned a profit of Rs 15000 after investing in agriculture production. After the purchase of the cow, the monthly income rose by Rs 1200. A total of Rs 70,000 was earned through profit after the purchase and installation of a peppermint processing plant.

By active participation in  SHG meetings and facilitated discussions she learned about 18 days compost, Informal Seed System, SRI and SWI techniques, making of Jeevamrit, Ghan Jeevamrit and other methods of Zero Budget Natural Farming. She uses them in her field, due to which her production increased.

“Now, all my children go to school, I have multiple sources of livelihood, I have a pakka house of my own, I don’t have to go to any moneylender to ask for money. The SHG made me an empowered, confident woman who travels alone, is financially independent and takes her own decision. My family and I are very happy.”

Six years in the SHG system made her a courageous and resourceful woman. She could write, compose and sing songs related to agriculture and SHGs. She has developed excellent communication skills. All her talents were hidden and undiscovered before she joined SHG. SHG gave her opportunities to unlock all her capabilities. She is a leader and volunteer in the learning and dissemination process in RGMVP. She has become an agriculture specialist in RGMVP promoting SRI, SWI, Composting, Seed production, etc. among SHG members. She is a powerful social capital, evidence of RGMVP’s social capital generation in villages as well as establishing gender equality.

Sara Saad