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Monday, July 4, 2011

Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Living: Case-42: ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE FOR A WIDOW!


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Indira belongs to Maripadaga, an APRLP watershed village in Gundala Mandal. She lost her husband within three years of marriage. She has two children. After her husband’s death, she could not live with her in-laws. She returned to her parents’ home along with her children.  Her parents being poor, found it difficult to support her. It became hard to make ends meet.  The Village Organisation (VO) and the PIA, an NGO – SHARP, came to know of her difficulties and convinced her to join the Vivekananda Samabhavana Sangham, a self-help group, in March 2005.

The VO wanted to help her earn a living.  One of the objectives of the VO is to provide support to its members. This is undertaken through meetings organised by the Watershed Development Team (WDT). The meetings focused on the need for women members to form a collective force. They would focus on the plight of women and narrate examples of different women who had overcome their poverty and empowered themselves. The members of the VO looked at their organisations as the driver in changing their lives. They also understood that the neediest among them had to be helped first. The VO aimed to achieve self sufficiency in operations and meet the investment requirements of women. The VO had a perfect repayment record. This was the VO that came to the rescue of Indira.

At the time, there was no flour mill in the village. Villagers went to nearby villages to grind their flour. There was a high demand for a flour mill in the village itself. Sensing this opportunity, members of the VO proposed to help Indira by giving her a loan to set up a fl our mill. The VO sanctioned a loan of Rs.5, 000 from the Livelihood Fund. She pooled in her own savings of Rs.2, 100. With the money, she bought machinery and started a flour mill in the village.

Indira now earns Rs.55 per day, giving her a monthly income of Rs.1, 650. The mill costs her Rs.450 a month to maintain. She uses the balance Rs.1, 200 to run her household and repay her loan. She worked hard to repay her loan and cleared it in a year’s time, in 10 monthly installments. Now the fl our mill is entirely her own. Whatever she earns from this, is solely her income. She is able to maintain her household without being dependent on anybody. Even without a husband to support the family. As a single, independent woman, she has become the role model for all other women of the village.

All this was made possible due to the support of the Course Director APRLP, the PIA – SHARP and the WDT.

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