Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Taking names for granted!

We take it for granted, all of us do; what’s so great about being called by ones name, we might ask?
Confined within the walls of their house after marriage women in parts of UP and India for that matter, seldom get out of the house, seldom meet any one and are seldom called by their names. Some don't even know what they have been named.
The opportunity to meet friends and acquaintances and talk to them is something most of us have grown up with. But a visit to some remote villages in the state teaches us that for many, this is but a luxury that are able to afford.
The meetings that SHGs organize on a weekly basis do more than just spread awareness and encourage women to create savings. Giving the women a platform to talk to one another at these meetings gives the women an identity and helps them gain self-confidence and self-respect. When we ask them what difference the program has made to their lives, the women proudly tell us that the SHGs have given them a platform to speak and that the meetings have taught them how to talk. Some women have also confessed that because of the SHGs they have now learnt their names!
Many of us dismiss the very basic needs of our fellow citizens and fail to realize the impact and importance that merely speaking and meeting people can make on the lives of those who have little else but hope. The meetings that RGMVP organizes with visitors from different parts of the country helps the women develop a greater sense of self-pride. It gives them the confidence and encouragement to carry forward the work of the Pariyojana and empower more and more women.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Jamwati from Bundelkhand

Jamwati came to Bundelkhand from Madhya Pradesh after her marriage. One of the only educated women in the village, she gives us a broad smile as she tells us that she is the Deputy President of her SHG.

Using the credit made available to her thrugh the SHG she proudly tells us how she was able to pay off the money lender from whom the family had borrowed money to build the pucca house behind her. “In the last three months I have already repaid half the money to bank” she tells us.
In Bundelkhand as in many areas of rural India one of the biggest challenges that the poor face is the poor knowledge of affordable credit that is available to them. While this credit is available, ignorance and tradition have forced the poor to return time and again to the local moneylenders. The incredibly high rates of interest (that are often five times that charged by the SHG) make it impossible for the poor to repay their debts. Unable to repay their debts the poor loose what little land or other possessions they have, forcing them down the debt spiral even further.
RGMVP works hard to educate the women about the resources that are available and thus helps them escape the vicious debt trap of local money lenders that have been exploiting the poor.
Above: Jamwati at the door of her 'pucca' (पुक्का) house.
Top Right: Jamwati at Swasth Sakhi (community health worker) Training.