Microfinance empowering women in un-banked villages
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
For almost 20 years after her marriage, Sanyogita, a Dalit from a small village in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, was not allowed to step out of her home. A class VIII drop-out, she yearned to do something worthwhile. Soon, rising economic pressure opened a small window for her. She became an ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) worker and was paid an honorarium.
While she commanded a lot of respect in her village, her family was not happyas she was on call at odd hours. Things changed last year. Sanyogita became a member of a microfinance samooh (group) in her village. She quit work as an ASHA. Her family had no complaints about her new job, as she could get loans.
“I took a loan of Rs 10,000 to buy a buffalo, and had to pay back a total of Rs 11,184 through weekly instalments. But my family is happy as we are now into milk trade. I stepped out of the home after 20 years of marriage, but now there is no looking back,” she says. Sanyogita was here with a group of women from her village as well as from other States, such as Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Bengal, Karnataka and Rajasthan, to share their experiences on how starting their own small business, such as goat and buffalo-rearing, tailoring, making pickles and handicrafts, had given them confidence and ‘status’ within the family and outside.