"I had the hunger to grow and succeed in life. From being a member to forming SHGs. I can do anything in life"
Urmila Devi, Community Facilitator SPUR, Muzaffarpurbelongs to Bela Chapra slum and used to work as a housemaid. SPUR began community mobilisation in her slum through the NGO NIDAN in 2012 and slowly built confidence in the women through their meetings. Seeing her confidence, NIDAN offered Urmila a position to help them form SHGs (Self Help Groups) with Rs. 200/- being paid for every SHG she formed– Urmila went on to form 22 SHGs. Subsequently, SPUR hired Urmila directly as a Community Facilitator and she formed another 30 SHGs in 4 wards of Muzaffarpur and facilitated the construction of 88 toilets through SVS. 2 months ago, she heard about the e-rickshaw and learnt to drive one in 2 days’ time. Urmila then approached a bank for a loan and got 90% of the cost financed. Today she is a confident e-rickshaw driver and seeing her, 10 other women from Bela Chapra slum are learning to drive and have applied for loans from the same bank.
" I had the hunger to grow and succeed in life. My husband was also working as a daily wage earner and I dreamt of a better life. From being a member of an Self Help Groups (SHG) to forming SHGs- I can do anything in life"
"I feel so happy that I and other women like me are now in a position to dialogue with any man"
Rekha Patel, Community Facilitator, Begusarai, is a widow and led a difficult life subjected to social pressures and norms. In 2012, community mobilization began in her slum and she was asked to participate in the infrastructure mapping exercise. While her contribution was negligible, she enjoyed the process of mobilization and decided that she would pursue this. Rekha overcame resistance from her family and in just one year, became a champion of all development activities in her slum. In 2015, Rekha was appointed as a Community Facilitator and formed 36 SHGs and facilitated the construction of 300 toilets in 5 slums through SVS.
“I feel so happy that I and other women like me are now in a position to dialogue with any man – be it a slum dweller, a highly respected person like a Mayor or the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation – we have all learned to raise our voice against atrocities and fight for our rights.”
"I had hardly been out of my locality for years. Today I've got my own identity"
Akali Devi – the ‘Chai Wali’ from Saharsa lives in Batraha slum in Ward 25. She joined the ‘Vandana Samvardhan’ SHG in 2012 and is also a member of the SVS. Through her constant endeavours, 132 toilets have been constructed in her slum and all are in use and well maintained. Akali has also been elected as the President of her Area Level Organization (ALO) and her ALO has been selected to run a night shelter in Saharsa under the NULM by the ULB. She has led groups protesting encroachment of their shops and has become somewhat a terror for potential encroachers! The ULB recogni"ses her zeal and calls on her to support them in their fight against social evils.
“I had hardly been out of my locality for years. It is because of Samvardhan project that I got my own identity and today I even fight with the officials of the Nagar Parishad to see that works for women get completed on priority.”
Shashi Devi, Community Facilitator, Nawada always disliked being limited to doing just household chores but did not know what else she could do. The slum that she lived in had very poor infrastructure and remained water logged for most of the year. When community mobilisation began, she saw an avenue to channel her contribution but had to overcome resistance from others in the slum and had to convince her husband to permit her to participate and become an SHG member. Shashi recounts the one time her family did not allow her to attend a training that required her to stay overnight outside Nawada however, the situation has since changed and she has been outstation several times. Shashi has formed 28 SHGs under SPUR.
"Had I not been a member of the SHG, it would have been difficult for me to encourage other women to work on their own"
Lalmuni Devi – “Papad Chachi” had a burning desire to be something more than just a housewife but felt constrained by her limited education. She lives in Kanhauli Matth in Ward 48 of Muzaffarpur and joined the ‘Radha Samvardhan’ SHG and motivated others to do the same and today, her slum has 10 SHGs. Around the time that Lalmuni joined the SHG, Lijjat Papad (an Indian women's cooperative involved in manufacturing fast consumer goods) came looking for women to join them and met with Lalmuni and other SHGs in the slum. These groups were trained and are today engaged in papad rolling and earning an income.
"Had I not been a member of the SHG, it would have been difficult for me to encourage other women in my slum to work on their own. Today, women from every household are engaged in work and no one sits idle. It has ensured better standards of living and a happy family."
"I realised that the loans from the SHG savings could be utilised effectively and that a sewing machine can help increase my earnings."
Sadhana Devi, Nawada is a member of ‘Arti Samvardhan’ and lives in Garphar slum on Nadriganj Road. The slum has 22 SHGs that were formed in 2014. Sadhana was convinced to join the SHG by the local Ward Council and the community worker. She has taken two loans from her SHG and purchased a sewing machine. In order to hone her skills, she did tailoring free of cost for the local women. Subsequently, she began reaching out to the larger saree showrooms in the town for work and two of the big showrooms started giving her small jobs. She earns between Rs. 5000-Rs. 6000 per month and has been able to contribute towards building her own house. Her husband has high praise for her and wants his daughter to follow in her footsteps. Sadhana now plans to purchase an automatic sewing machine and also hopes to open her own shop.