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Friday, June 24, 2011

Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Living: Case-32: A LITTLE HELP GOES A LONG WAY!

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S K Mahabuni lives in B Pappuru Village in Narpala Mandal of Anantapur district. She is 40 years old and belongs to the Muslim community.  Her husband cannot earn a living due to ill health, so she is responsible for her family of five. She used to earn Rs.20 per day as a labourer, which was hardly enough to maintain her family.

In 2002 APRLP started the watershed development programme in the village. As part of the process it organised poor women into self-help groups and formed village organisations. Awareness programmes were organised. Mahabuni joined the Srujana group and since all the members are from a similar economic status they started saving Rs.50 per month. The self-help group opened an account in the Andhra Pragathi Grameena Bank and paid a membership fee of Rs.500 to the Shirdi Sai Village Organisation.

The members of the self-help group were able to borrow from the village organisation to start small income generating activities. Mahabuni borrowed Rs.15, 000 at Rs.1 interest and started an STD telephone booth at the bus stand. She also started selling cigarettes and bidis. She earns Rs.150-200 per day. From this income she repays her loan every month and also looks after the needs of her family.

Mahabuni started selling tea and tiffin through the shop, which earned her a higher profit. Later she also started selling cold drinks with the help of her sons. She made her business grow and the shop got bigger. She and her sons manage the shop. One sells tiffin and tea, the second sells cold drinks and the third runs the STD booth and collects phone bills. They have become completely involved in the business.  They open the shop at 8 am and close the shop at 10 pm. They buy milk for the hotel from the members of the group and get the cold drinks and other items from Bathulapalli Village.

They save Rs.5, 000–6, 000 per month after meeting all their expenses. She has purchased a fridge for Rs.25, 000 to keep the drinks cold. Mahabuni says that the livelihoods improvement programme of APRLP has brought light into her life.

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