Manjari Foundation - Developing women's organizations at the grassroots.

The Concept of SHG made me realize the Importance of Self


February 24, 2019

stories of change

Samuh Ne Karayi Khud Se Pehchan”(The Concept of SHG made me realize the Importance of Self)


Sushila Devi, a 28-year-old lady from Shivpura village, is a mother of the young boy. Tears roll down her cheeks as she narrates her story. She was very young when she got married.

The Earlier Situation

She always wanted to continue her education, but it was hard for her because she was married to a very conservative family where girls are dropped from school once they attain Puberty (the period during which adolescents reach sexual maturity and become capable of reproduction).

Even though she couldn’t pursue her education beyond high school, and was married off early, she never gave up on her dreams and aspirations to do something big in her life.

The Extraordinary Journey

Few months back she came to know about the Sakhi Project. She was keen to know more about the groups. Initially, she attended the meetings and learned about the concept of SHGs, but it was not comfortable for her to step out of the house and join the groups. Her in-laws were very reluctant and did not allow her to join Self Help Groups.

Sushila was extraordinarily passionate and had a strong determination to join the SHG. One beautiful day her husband allowed her to associate with a group. She joined the Tejaji Self Help Group with the confidence and aspiration to grow stronger.

The Positive Impact

Sushila was nominated as the Samuh Sakhi of her village by her SHG members. The process of selection of Samuh Sakhi is transparent and on a rotational basis. The idea is to develop second line of leadership and motivate the women to take charge of their community and village. She promoted the importance of small savings, and encouraged the women she interacted within the village, to form self- help groups. She also helped other groups of her village in Book keeping (a practice of recording and maintaining the daily accounts of the SHG) and writing work.

She has earned immense respect for herself, and especially the women in her village are incredibly thankful to her for counseling and help.

Today, the confident Sushila says, “I earn respect not only from others but also from my husband and in-laws. This is the biggest achievement of my life”.

    SHG is my home and its members are my family”

I Laxmi devi hail from the village Zawar. We are five members in family, my husband Babu Lal, in-laws and a child of age 2. My husband works as a Taxi driver and he remotely manage to earn ample amount to rear my family. So apart from the society’s stigma & stereotypes I availed my husband economically go for labor work in the nearby town, with an abundance of arduousness. We both barely manage to earn Rs 5000 per month with which we are not able to fulfill basic & physiological need of the family. We have an arduous life with no fortification from outside. Sometimes we have to spend the day only on one time meal and in case of emergency I had to go to the mahajan in the village. I remember once I had no money to buy the “rashan” and I had to go to the Mahajan to borrow money. After an abundance of request he concurred to give me Rs 1500 @ an interest rate of 10% per month. Apart from debts he asked me to work on his field as well. During that month to recompense my debt I had to go his house, clean utensils, work on his farm and whatever work he asked me to do. The entire period was like nightmare for me, I had to work day and night to recompense the amount. In the morning I would go to MGNREGA field for labor job after that to the house of Mahajan. Every time I took loan from him I had to work on his field as well.

This was the time when I and my husband were probing for some other options and when on the 17th November 2016, CRP team of 3 members peregrinated to our village to make SHGs; I was confounded but agog to ken about the flagship of SHGs. Initially I was very reluctant that how my life is going to amend by joining a SHG! Half heartedly I joined SHG namely Nari Shakti formed on 21.11.16. We are a group of 12 members who belongs to same muhala (Area).


Loan Amount



Rs. 200/-

For purchase of seed


Rs. 1,000/

For purchase of wheat


Rs. 500/

For treatment of son


Rs. 1,800/

For treatment of father-in-law


We commenced going to the meeting every week and commenced saving Rs 20/-. Till now we have conducted around 22 meetings through which I have a saving of Rs 380 and my group has a saving of Rs. 4,560/- Till now 4 times I have taken loan from SHG, with which with which I am able to consummate desiderata of my family and furthermore deciding on other job alternatives by putting resources into horticulture.

I have gained many benefits from the SHG but most significantly now I do not depend on Mahajan & don’t need to work on anyone’s field. I get facile loan from my SHG as & when required on a very low interest rate of Rs 2/-. Now I only borrow money from my SHG for all my desiderata. Recently my father-in-law got a paralysis attack and we had to rush to the hospital tardy in the night. In this situation all my SHG fellows came to avail and immediately called a sudden meeting which was not scheduled and gave me Rs 1,800/-. I must verbally express that SHGs is the true availing hand for all the needy people like us. It became my family now; Meetings are now a component of my routine. I never miss a meeting. In the days of distress, meeting is the only time I get to sit with my fellow SHGs members share my quandaries and verbalize about future and family. I will never leave my SHG and would incentivize other women of the village additionally to become member to the SHGs. I must say “This SHG has given me new path now it is my home and fellow members are my family”.

“I was always a shy woman, my timid nature made it impossible for me to speak up even to my family, today I am Samuh Sakhi of my village confidently leading 7 Samuh ” Seema Devi.

The story was different few months ago. I grew up as shy and hesitant girl got married at the age when I did not understand the actual meaning of marriage. The economic condition of my in-laws was not good. My husband was a poor farmer with only 1.5 bigha land which was the only source of income hence unable to serve the basic needs of the family. There was a time when my family trapped in an unending debt spiral because we were completely dependent on money lenders.

When community resource persons under Sakhi project came in my village and approached women to form into self help groups, I never imagined that I would be the part of the Samuh. I feared to converse with the outside world and mostly remained within the boundary of household; those were the most difficult days of my life so initially to support my family, half heartedly I joined “Jagriti Self Help Group” I took time to understand the flagship of SHG. After getting glimpse about SHGs, its responsibilities and functioning, I took a step further and became the leader of my group. Gradually my family conditions started improving hence I gained confidence to do more. Since joining SHG, my life has changed and personality has evolved. Participation in meetings, exposure visits and regular interactions with group members, villagers, bank officials and other government functionaries has helped me shed my fears. Now I become confident of my abilities, I am the Samuh Sakhi of my village.

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