Where there is a will there is a way is an old saying in English which means that if we don’t have strong determination and will towards our goal, we cannot work hard and thus cannot achieve success in life. And Injot Mahila Mandal of Gurma Village in Palkot block has proved this proverb correct. With the help of their strong determination, this SHG’s members have created their own success story of getting out of poverty and the so called societal norms. Injot Mahila Mandal was formed in 2002 consisting of 17 members. They have no other option except doing paddy during monsoon that time, and rest of the time they run their lives by selling dry woods. In this adverse situation sometimes even they don’t get enough meals for them.
After running SHG for 3 years, with the help of PRADAN’s intervention, all the members have taken membership of Gumla Grameen self-supporting poultry cooperative society and constructed the sheds for rearing 300 poultry birds in 2006 which later expanded to 500 shed capacities. From this activity, each member started to earn 35-40 thousand per year. And this gave them great confidence to op for other options of livelihood. After this, all the members collectively started to cultivate tomatoes and other vegetables. That also gave a profit of 9000 to each member. So gradually they understood whatever they will do with complete knowledge and hard labor will give inevitable results in the form of high income. In 2014 they came under NRLM fold, under this program they got 15000 Rs revolving fund and got a loan of 75000 in the form of community investment fund (CIF) from their village organisation. They decided to invest this money for getting other options for livelihood to earn more income. In 2016 they started the cultivation of marigold with collective action as SHG as a group along with existing activities. From this marigold cultivation, they earn an additional income of 20000 collectively.
But these all activities except poultry rearing gave them earning only once in a year due to scanty water. So they again plan for a business which can give them earning for a complete year. They decided to start the production of bread and cookies. For this, they have approached Bank for credit and got a loan of 50000. And got training in preparing bread and cookies with the help of local vender and also paid 1000 per day to train them. The total cost incurred for starting this business was 30000 for setting kiln and other utensils needed for this, paid 7000 to trainer and from rest of the money, they bought other raw materials for preparing bread and cookies. Then here they are. They started to sell these products in local markets. They also took a stall for it in Mahadhiveshan to inspire other SHGs. Gradually their bread and cookies became so popular that they are not able to complete the demand for their Panchayat itself which also motivates other SHGs to learn from this SHG to set up and to do such kind of work to become an entrepreneur.
Also after attending the workshop on gender organized by us, they realized that they learnt a lot and gave a high effort to eradicate poverty but what about them, whatever they earn from their hard labor spend either for their children or family. But did nothing for themselves, their condition is still poor in reality or even worse as they have to do more work now. From this workshop, they have pointed out a number of things to change the situation. Among them constructing toilet and bathroom for them is the most prior thing for them as many times they felt uncomfortable and even sometimes also not able to find space for them due to scanty trees and shrubs and also felt ashamed of open defecation and the second priority is to reduce their drudgery by using different tools.
And they not only said this but also did it and inspired others to do this. They started to construct toilets and bathrooms by own without taking any government support. And the most surprising incident happen during this when I visited that village to see the construction of toilet, and I asked dada’s(husband of a member) in a meeting about the expenses incurred in purchasing of bricks and other raw materials, they first gave me an answer in approx amount but when I started to ask in detail they replied that they don’t know in details as didi’s were involved in purchasing all things that were decided by them, they are only helping them to construct this infrastructure, didis being owner of the structure. I was very happy to hear the reply, as they were not saying this in any way but they mean it. But they were not able to speed up the construction because of lack of money even they took a loan from their VO as all the SHG members are involved in constructing toilets at the same time. But finally, they completed it and also their strong determination forced the BDO of Palkot to visit their village and helped them to get the SBM-G incentives.
They also got agriculture equipment including power tiller, spray machine, etc worth Rs. 200000 from agriculture department in subsidy. They took this with the objective of making their work easier and reduce their drudgery.
Because of all the things and activities carried out by the SHG successfully took them in the limelight of another stakeholder as well. This year they also got the award for best SHG by the honorable chief minister of Jharkhand Mr. Raghubar Das. They were so happy and proudly shared about this experience about that they never thought of. But their journey was not ended here, now they are planning to do new technique of using creepers for vegetable cultivation to earn additional income, expanding the shed capacity from 500 to 1000, become the owner of the agriculture land, engaging with the mainstream institution, etc. But the core objective is that their belief and determination to do new things and also the motivation they have, that made them a model SHG for all the other SHGs of Palkot and also inspired us to think new things to guide them.