Monday, December 19, 2011

Community Women Fight to Open Bank Accounts!

Four months back, RGMVP started work in two  villages of Maharajganj, namely, Patal Kunwie and Pipariya Karana Jahan. At presently, 17 women's Self Help Groups have been formed, 10 in Patal Kunwie and 7 in Piparya Karan Jahan. The groups are well disciplined, do their meetings regularly, have good savings and have initiated many activities in the last few months. Day by day, each member is becoming more and more active. 
However, the major obstacle for the group has been the bank. The village comes under the State Bank of India, Ghughali. Despite trying our best to open bank accounts for these groups, our project staff in Gorakhpur remained unsuccessful. In a meeting organized by NABARD in Ghughali, we called the Branch Manager of the particular bank, but he did not come. Our Regional Programme Manager Mr. Pankaj, along with NABARD officials visited the Branch. The bank accepted the NABARD official's request and gave a date to have the accounts opened. However, on arrival on that date, he refused to open the accounts, challenging the project staff to go complain to whoever they want!

On 11 and 12th November, there was a two day Bank Sakhi (community members who get trained on bank related issues like account opening, etc.) training, including bank sakhis from this particular village. At the next Village Organization meeting, the discussion was on how to open their bank accounts
On 24th November, we heard that 40 SHGs member lead by Bank Sakhi Mrs.Vindya Wasini Devi and Mrs. Neelam from the RGMVP team went to the bank. There they argued with the Branch Manager and within an hour he agreed! The very next day, on 25th November, he sent his Field Officer to see the Self Help Group in the village. After assessing the groups, the Field Officer invited the women to come to the branch and allotted every Friday to open accounts. Till date, 7 groups have completed the paper formalities and 3 accounts have been open! The procedure has now become smoother for other women!