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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Living: Case-77: JUBEDABI’S INDOMITABLE SPIRIT!

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29 year old Jubedabi is HIV positive and her husband died of AIDS, but she is not afraid. She is a born leader and runs the village organisation efficiently. Her life is an example for all those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

She studied up to the 5th standard, and was married to Sharif sixteen years ago. She has two children, and owns 1.5 acres of land allotted to her family by the government. She joined a self-help group comprising 15 members in 1995. Given her assertiveness, combined with her energy and helpful nature, she was elected leader of the self-help group. Each member saved Rs.30 per month. Seeing how these members were prospering, other women in the village were motivated to join the self-help group movement and soon 10 self-help groups were formed.

In the year 2000 Tadakalapalli village was identified and selected for the implementation of the watershed development programme. For the first time in the history of the watershed development programme an all women’s watershed committee was formed, headed by Jubedabi. The committee got special recognition from the departments and officials as a watershed successfully run by women. The selfhelp group led by Jubedabi achieved many good things for the community.

One such activity stood out as an example of how the group builds unity in the community.  The women’s group took a loan under the watershed programme and started pisciculture as a group activity. When they made a profit of about Rs.40, 000, the self-help group contributed Rs.30, 000 to build a church, a mosque and a temple in their village, at a cost of Rs.10, 000 each. They pledged this donation to prove that self-help groups mean unity and all communities have a stake and need to take part in their development. This gesture has built enormous goodwill for the groups.

The women’s group also worked on other social issues such as the prevention of child marriages, and persuading parents to re-enroll children who had dropped out of schools.  They influenced the election of political representatives, ensured the granting of ration cards and built relationships with officials of
government departments.  The self-help groups took on the responsibility of running the National Child
Labour Project (NCLP) School in the village. They saw to it that the children lived in the Social Welfare Hostel if they opted for higher education after they finished school.

The village school had only two rooms and hence could not accommodate any more children. The self-help groups collected Rs.16, 000 for the construction of some more rooms. Jubedabi alone contributed Rs.4, 000 as a way of showing her concern and commitment to the development of the village.

Their village was called the `Insured Village’ as the self-help groups motivated the entire village community to be covered by an insurance scheme – a unique achievement.

They built a veterinary hospital, and by making a representation to the Government they appointed a compounder to run the hospital.

As the leader of a self-help group and member of the watershed committee Jubedabi initiated many other village development activities and the village witnessed great progress. Twice she has received the award for the ‘Best Village Organisation Leader’ from the Chief Minister. “I don’t know how long I will survive but I would like to do the best possible for the village before I die”, says Jubedabi.

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