August 30, 2018

Self-help groups are helping manual labourers strive for a better life

Ratna Bai used to earn her livelihood by working as a manual labourer. But she felt that the money she made after toiling hard from morning till evening was not enough to meet the day-to-day expenses. Same was the case with several other women in Doomarkachar village in Pali development block in Korba district of Chhattisgarh.

The women were wondering what they could do to improve their situation. About a year back they came to know about Bihan scheme of the Chhattisgarh government. It is a scheme under National Rural Livelihood Mission and it focuses on women’s empowerment by imparting livelihood skills training to them. These women became aware about certain women’s Self Help Groups that were involved in various trades under the Bihan scheme. What they saw was impressive. Women like them were running their own enterprises and were contributing towards increasing the family income. Ratna Bai and nine other women formed a Self Help Group and decided to take up poultry farming.  

Today Ratna and her fellow members of the Self Help Group are self-sufficient. They are not only contributing towards the financial betterment of their households but also planning to expand their enterprise.

These women are well aware of the importance and significance of the progress they are making. Therefore each of these women are very serious about their work. Apart from running their own poultry farm they are now motivating other women in the village to come forward and take control of their lives. These women are very serious about their work and they even organise meetings in the middle of the night if necessary. Fortunately their husbands and other family members are very supportive and they accompany them to late night meetings.

Ratna and her fellow members of the SHG are striding fast on the path of progress. They have already expanded their poultry farm. Now they have two sheds and they want to expand it further in the coming days.

“We are now building the foundation of the farm and therefore we make sure that we save enough to re-invest in the farm. The women are becoming more confident because of the poultry farm.” Says Ratna.

Ratna is also happy that she and her fellow members of the group are inspiring other women in the region too. “We were inspired by another Self Help Group running a poultry farm and today a lot of other women are inspired by us.” She says.

It is not just Ratna and her fellow members of the SHG or the women of Doomarkachar village only. Hundreds of women all over Chhattisgarh today are pursuing their dreams of better life and livelihood with the help of the Bihan scheme. Bihan has brought a new ‘Bihan’ (meaning dawn) to the lives of these women.

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