The transformation of Ramavati, wife of Balram in Bhav village of Rahi block in Raebareli district was fast, once she joined the SHG named Ganga Mahila in the year 2014.  She belonged to a scheduled caste family of seven members with just five biswa land. They had five children and the family suffered greatly because of poverty.  She and her husband did agriculture labor for a living. They lived in a kuchha house. She was illiterate.

After joining SHG, her first priority was to have a pucca room as her girl children were growing. She availed Rs. 10, 000 from her SHG and constructed a brick walled room. She wanted to send her children to school and so she took loan of Rs. 3000 for children’s education. She took one biga land on lease and by availing Rs. 10, 000 from her SHG started cultivation using the best practices she learned from her SHG network.  Now they do not go for labor in other fields as they have enough work in their own agricultural activities. She again availed Rs. 10, 000 for agriculture and now agriculture is their major source of livelihood. Her own small parcel of land is now a beautiful kitchen garden where she grows all sort of vegetables including onion and potato, sufficient enough for the family. She uses compost only and her kitchen garden is fully organic.

Her two girl children are now studying for their BA course. She could also generate other assets like one buffalo and two goats during this period. The grown up girls made it necessary for her to construct a toilet near to her house. She got Rs. 6000 from the Block Office (Government Scheme) and remaining she invested from her own resources.  She and her children all are aware of the best health practices, which they learned through her SHG. Health and nutrition are priority at home. She no more thinks that she is poor. Apart from repaying loans, she is saving Rs. 100 per month in her SHG.

P S Mohanan, January 2019