Sushila, of Pure Naya village in Lalganj block of Raebareli district, joined Hardev Baba SHG in the year 2010.  She belonged to the social category of OBC. She went to school up to 5thclass. Her family was landless and lived in a kuchha house with mud walls.

She says, “Before joining SHG, I was not respected in the family. When I had children, harassment increased and my in-laws and husband started beating us and throwing us out of the house and we had to go to our mother’s place on many occasions.  Then my in-laws separated us from their place and we started staying separately. My husband was an addict to liquor and whatever wages he earned was not sufficient for his drinking. I used to work here and there to take care of my children and there were times when we had to survive for three-four days with just one kilogram of rice. Husband used to become violent and used to beat me very often.”

After joining SHG, she stopped going here and there for slavery type of work. She disclosed to her husband about her joining the SHG only after six months, lest he would prevent her from joining the SHG. The beatings continued but she did not go to her mother’s place. She became courageous and decided to face the situation squarely. The meetings and information exchange in the group empowered her and her first step was to register her children’s names in the nearby school. For this she took Rs. 1000 loan from her SHG. Next, she took Rs. 5000 and started cultivating on lease land and also made a dwelling place for herself and the children. Next step was to purchase a buffalo for which she took a loan of Rs. 10,000.

Her next step was to make her husband sober and responsible. For this, she purchased a second-hand tractor by availing Rs. 50, 000 from her group. Gradually her husband’s behavior changed.  He started listening to her and recognizing her value. She took another loan of Rs. 80, 000 and purchased a new tractor. This was followed by another loan of Rs. 10, 000 for a rotavator. Her monthly income currently is about Rs. 13,000. Her status as a capable woman increased manifold. She has tremendous self-confidence. She has developed good communication skill too. Her assets have grown. Apart from tractor and accessories, she has three buffaloes and one cow. She could construct one pucca brick-walled room for residence. The family is very happy. She is currently 32 years old. Her journey and transition from a life full of suffering to a life of happiness and well-being is inspiring.

Sushila’s story is a powerful story of empowerment and transformation.

Dhirendra and P S Mohanan, February 2019