Have you ever imagined the life of a woman living in a remote village? A dusky picture of a woman cooking food on a chullah (traditional stove made of mud coating and brick) with smoke all around is a picture which generally comes in mind.
On a chilly wintry morning, when this writer visited Tavru, a town akka village, 32 kms from Gurgaon, the myth dissipated within a few hours. The trip was intended to visit a few Self Help Groups (SHGs) that Deepalaya – one of the largest operating NGO’s in Delhi — formed in the last few years. The visit came at a time, when the Union Government has already decided to revamp Rashtriya Mahila Kosh — a scheme intended to provide loans to SHGs. This may have a ripple effect and lead to virtual scrapping of SHGs.
Soon we landed in front of a newly renovated shop run by Deepalaya Reena SHG in Tavru. When asked how Deepalaya Microfinance program has impacted their life, Reena had no words to explain. All she could say was it has changed my entire life. “I was sitting idle at home with a family to look after. I always wanted to achieve something in my life. I have seen women change over the years and wanted to be a part of enterprising women. Deepalaya has helped me in fulfilling my dreams.”
Coming from a humble background, Reena has been able to support other women in the village. She has employed women from other SHGs and is willing to lend a helping hand to women who can’t step out of their homes due to familial compulsions.
“My brother-in-law objects if I venture out of the village for selling my products”, said Sudesh, other women from Deepalaya Anju SHG. Reena agreed to provide her raw material for the excellent handicraft work Sudesh can produce.
Though the SHGs have yet to evolve into a self-reliant stage, the programme has helped many a woman to free themselves from the age-old shackles. They have been able to save money. Earlier they sought support from their husbands, who always treated them as a burden. Now they lend a helping hand to their husbands. What a Change!