A major problem faced by Shanti Devi before joining SHG was that she did not have resources for educating her children. The family had three bhiga of land but they were not able to access banks for proper credit facilities for agricultural activities. Life was full of struggle and toil. She lacked proper information. She was not aware of women’s rights and entitlements. She was not able to speak properly and she lacked an identity and respect. Despite toiling maximum in the field, the produce was very low and the grains produced were not sufficient for the whole year. So she had to work as a laborer in other peoples field.
After joining the Suraj Mahila SHG in her village named Atara of Maharajganj block in Raebareli district, things started changing for the better for Shanti Devi. She started getting better knowledge and awareness in life. She found financial support from SHG for educating her children. She borrowed initially Rs. 5000 for children’s education and next time Rs. 8000 for the same purpose. She took Rs. 6000 form SHG for agriculture. She learned better agricultural practices through RGMVP’s training and started producing even surplus grains for sale. She also started a provision store by availing Rs. 40, 000. She also got a portion of her land released from the mortgage, which they had to do long back because of financial constraints. Finally, she took another loan of Rs 60, 000 to expand her shop.
“I could learn and earn a lot many things through my SHG. I could start a shop. I could give a good education to my children. The economic condition of my family improved. I became aware of our rights. I could convert our kuccha house to a pucca house during this period. I could purchase a small plot near the road. I could also purchase a tractor for my use both in my agriculture and for my shop. Because of the education, I could provide and because of her hard work, my daughter got a job in UP Police. My son is also doing good preparation for a job. I am very happy and owe my success to my SHG”
Dhirendra and P S Mohanan, February 2019