Rajkishuri, Nirmila, Chadana and Kamla
All these women are members of a Self Help Group in their village. They each have a different success story to tell.
Rajkishuri (on the left) is the treasurer of the SHG. She was given training by Sabla staff to help her carry out her role as treasurer. She took out a loan of 2000Rs (£28) to buy a water buffalo. Having attended a training on how to market her milk products and how to take proper care of her buffalo she started using the buffalo milk to make Indian sweets. She 500Rs a day (£7) through the sale of the sweets and has already returned the loan for the buffalo.
Nirmila (at the back in purple) was elected to the Panchayat (local government structure) She is working hard to make sure that the voices of the women in her group are heard by petitioning the Block Development Officer about their problems. It is a long process she says because “In the SHG we have power and freedom, but in the Panchayat I still feel limited by the fact that I am a woman and that I am illiterate. However because, as a group, we represent 25 votes, I think that the BDO is finally going to have to listen to us.” Visit our blog for a reflection on women in Panchayats: findyourfeet.wordpress.com/2009/07/03/quotas-for-women-in...
Chadana (in the centre in a white dress with spots) is a Traditional Birth Attendant. Through the SHG she learnt about a training programme for TBAs. Following the training, she says, “I know a lot more about the importance of hygiene in preventing infection in the mother and child. As a result I there are far fewer deaths. We also learnt about the importance of immunisation for our children. So when the auxiliary nurse came to the village we made sure that the children were all together in one place so that immunisation would be easy. Because of this she now visits the village more often.” As an SHG member she also attended training on Gender issues where they discussed things like discrimination between boys and girls and the importance of giving girls a proper education.
Kamla (in orange on the right) learnt how to make vermi compost by attending a training on compost making. “It was having such a great effect on our crops that people in neighbouring villages wanted to do the same. Now we sell works for 250 Rs / kg (£3.50) to people in neighbouring villages. I re invest the money I earn in farming so that I can grow more crops to feed my family.” Her daughter Savitri attends a girls’ education centre where she learns basic literacy, learns about HIV and AIDS, learns vocational skills like sewing and discusses gender issues. Kamla took out a loan on Savitri’s behalf to buy a sewing machine for 3000Rs (£43) Savitri now earns about 1500 Rs / month (£21) from sewing clothes. She says that she is saving the money and will soon be able to open a bank account.