From dependence to self-reliance
One of the biggest challenges that we face after formation of Self help groups with women in rural areas is proper documentation, maintenance of accounts and Minutes book – one of the preconditions of banks for loan disbursement. These women have stayed either in purdah or were confined to four walls of their house throughout their life and most of them are illiterate. The SHG microfinance program has given them a platform to explore their potential, earn a living, learn new things and add to their family income. They have moved on to take the lead in village politics and some have been able to make a place in this male-dominated society.
Acknowledging the need for extensive training, our SHG team has been conducting training and capacity building programs. One such program was conducted at Deepalaya SHG Microfinance office at Someshwar, Almora (Uttrakhand). The program was attended by around 40 women from 5 different SHGs.
Mr. Yogesh Chander Lohani, project coordinator took charge of the program and gave an introductory speech and apprised the women about Deepalaya and different projects run by the organisation. He then informed the relevance of Microfinance program so that women can inform other women living in their neighbourhood. He then gave a demo on how minutes of meetings have to be recorded and why it is important to meet at least twice a month. He then told how account books, individual ledger of each member and other books have to be maintained.
Women were also informed about different kind of micro enterprises they can establish by the borrowed amount. The easiest was cattle rearing and starting a dairy business. He then informed then about Deepalaya vocational training centre, which is being run in collaboration with R.G. Polytechnic, Someshwar.
He informed that the centre has been providing 6-months course in cutting and tailoring. Women get a certificate from R G Polytechnic
Thereafter, Mr. Yogesh distributed certificates to 26 women who were able to complete their course. He then introduced Mrs. Bhagwati Vohra who is president of a recently formed Deepalaya Laxmi SHG.
Mrs. Bhagwati Vohra belongs to a poor family and stays alone in the village with her son and mother-in-law. Her husband stays in Delhi and works in a private company on a very less salary which is not sufficient to run his family. Over these years, she has been working with a tailor and used to get a pittance. Despite financial constraints and restrictions from her family, she is a graduate and a diploma holder in cutting and tailoring.
After joining Deepalaya SHG program, she offered to run Deepalaya cutting and tailoring centre, something that we desperately wanted. Thereafter, the cutting and tailoring unit was inaugurated once again with the enrolment of 41 women. It is a win-win situation for both Deepalaya, Bhagwati Vohra and women residing in the region. While Bhagwati shall be able to earn a living, women who enrolled for the course shall get a certificate from one of the best polytechnics in the region, closer to their house. Who knows these women may also become future entrepreneurs! What else does Deepalaya want – a self reliant and a fulfilling life.