Sunita was brought in marriage to a very poor family in Rajapur village in Chattoh block, Amethi. She was brought up in Kanpur town and had studied up to BA. However, after marriage to the village family, as per custom, she was confined to the in-law’s place and not even allowed to go to the local market.  She convinced her husband and joined the Aditya SHG in 2013 when it was formed in the village by RGMVP. Her husband’s family had just 5 biswa of land (negligible) and the family’s source of income was from labor. Her husband Sonu used to work as a helper to a mason.

She started saving Rs. 50 in the SHG every month. Her SHG and the Village Organization named Diwahasin Mata Mahila Sanghathan of the village gave Sunita ample opportunities to mix with other women. She gradually started taking up leadership responsibilities. Her educational background and the SHG system encouraged her to motivate her husband to enhance his masonry skills and soon he graduated from helper to a mason. She took the loan from her group to buy mason’s tools and accessories for her husband and now he is earning good wages as a mason. She invested Rs. 9000 for this purpose. She also took a loan of Rs 10,000 from the group and purchased a heifer buffalo and started rearing it as the dairy activity. She learned the composting method and started cultivating the small plot of land they owned and started producing urd and wheat.

She and her husband decided to have only two children and their plan is to educate them as much as the children want. She has also started a Silai Centre and started earning by stitching clothes. She had acquired stitching skills before marriage. She had attended all health training at RGMVP and became a good resource person.  Her next goal is to have a good home for herself and her children and she is confident of achieving it very soon.

Because of her leadership qualities, she could rise in the system and she is presently the treasurer of her Block Federation of SHGs  at Chattoh Block. In the year 2015, all her SHG sisters wanted her to fight the Panchayat elections.  Supported by them, she won the elections and became the Member from Ward 7 of the Panchayat. She is one of the thousands of examples to show that village women can rise, given the right ecology.

P S Mohanan, February 2019