SHG movement changing many lives

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 30 Oct 2018 09:32:19


By Alka Panse-Tiwari,

The self help group (SHG) movement has brought financial stability and happiness in many lives and the story of Nandurbar’s Seema Patil is but one example among many in this series. In fact, the Mahalaxmi Saras Exhibition organised by Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department, at South Central Zone Cultural Centre (SCZCC), Civil Lines is full of such examples.

The exhibition has interesting products like mushroom jam, mushroom pickle, mushroom masala, bamboo rice, bamboo shoot, bamboo decorative items, snacks made of fish, hand-made pearl jewelry, wooden and bamboo handicraft, antique silver jewelry from Odisha and many others.

After facing financial problems for long, Seema’s family is now not only debt-free but also earning well. Patil’s family owns a 2 acre farmland at Namkin Lonkheda village in Shahada taluka of Nandurbar district. Her family comprising herself, husband and two children was struggling hard to make the two ends meet. The debt burden was another sword over their heads. Some two years back, Sangeeta became member of Navinya Self-Help Group at Namkin Lonkheda and her fortune changed after that. She is not only earning good but also saving some money now. Recently, she bought a new house in Lonkheda.

Navinya SHG, which has 10 women members, sells roasted wheat, oats, bajra, soya, garlic and snacks. About the business idea Sangeeta said, “We (village women) make roasted bajra and wheat chiwda at functions in the village. At one function, we thought why not start a business as their was good demand. We packed out bajra and chiwda in small packets and sold them to a stall owner at the weekly market at Rs 5. He sold all the packets for Rs 10 each. A week later, the stall owner gave us order for more packets and thus the new micro enterprise started.”

Recalling a happy memory, Sangeeta said that at an exhibition in Rajasthan, the group sold material that cost them Rs 50,000 in production for Rs 1.50 lakh.
The 58-year-old Namita Ikhar, member of Laxmi Mahila SHG, Bamni, Paoni-Bhandara Road, was another participant at the exhibition. Sharing her experience she said, “The SHG helped me get my self-respect. Now I am independent and also confident. Some five years ago I was scared of even walking down to a shop alone. But today, I travel to places like Mumbai, Nasik, Hyderabad and more.”

Shashikala, a former farm labourer and now a member of Shri Swami Samarth Swaysahayata SHG,who makes beautiful decorative handicraft items from wood, bamboo and wool, said, “I am happy that though I am not educated my skills are helping me earn for my family.”

Then there is Meenakshi from Saras SHG who makes jewelry from green bamboo shoots and seeds. Meenakshi’s talent was spotted by Prof Suresh Chopane of Central Government’s Environmental Committee in Chandrapur and he later made efforts to promote the work through various projects of Maharashtra Government. Meenakshi thanked Dr Elina Talukdar of Mesmerising Bamboo, Assam for training her at Bamboo Research and Training Centre of Forest Government at Chichapalli.

The SHG movement has changed lives of many women through micro-enterprises. Moreover, it has made the woman of the house financially independent, in spite of their modest academic backgrounds, making a direct impact on the quality of family life. More strength to the movement and to the dextrous women.