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

Today, as Savita, I have my own identity- everyone call me ‘Savita Devi’ the leader of Aarthik SHG instead of Shankar ki Ladi”.

manjari

February 24, 2019

stories of change

Identity “Matters”

Background

Savita Devi lives in village Rela of the Sarada tehsil (Oda Panchayat) in Udaipur district. She completed her graduation from Humanities. She has three children, one girl and two boys. Her eldest daughter studies in eight standard. Her elder son is ten years old and is differently-able. Her youngest son is five months old. Her husband, Shankar Meena is a farmer with 4.5 Bigha land who partially also work as a wage labor.

Earlier Situations

Earlier I didn’t have any idea about my village, panchayat & district. It’s only after becoming part of the Self Help Group I got to know about the location and name of my village and community as well. When Community Resource Person asked me to introduce myself to our Self Help Group, I was very hesitant.

I had never spoken my name in public I had almost forgotten it. No one in the village knew the real name I was called “Shankar ki ladi” (Shankar’s wife) and I didn’t have any issue with it as it was the case with most of the women like me.

The Turning Point

In the SHG meetings, we discussed various social and economic issues that included financial literacy, nutrition-sensitive agriculture, and even family issues.

The members of the SHG became like my extended family. Whenever any members of the SHG have problems, we all come together for help. It just not just a SHG for me it’s my family.

As a leader of the SHG, I learned to take responsibilities for my SHG. Leadership role in SHG taught me how to take decisions and reason rationally.

I remember once my SHG member Varju’s son got severely ill. The local doctor asked her to take to the district hospital, but her husband was not in the town. She had no money she was terrified and suffered from mental trauma; later on, she hesitantly discussed her problem with me. I immediately called a special meeting and helped her avail loan from our SHG.

SHG members helped her and gave moral and emotional support. This incident taught other SHG members and me the importance of SHG which is beyond the credit & saving activities.

Positive Changes

Now in every meeting of my SHG, I regularly introduce myself with pride. “I have my own identity- everyone now calls me Savita Devi leader of Aarthik SHG instead of Shankar ki Ladi.”

A few days ago, senior Community Resource Person didi came to my meeting to form Gram Sanghthan (Village level Organization). It was the first time when I got an opportunity to meet other SHG members of my village. I took the oath to become the leader of my community in the presence of 120 women from my village.

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