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I COULD GO OUT FROM MY HOME

BECAUSE OF THE SAVING GROUP

By Padminibai Kondiba Waghmare

As Told to and Recorded by Usha Gojame

 

My name is Padminibai Dhondiba Waghmare and I am 35 years old. I stay at village Nagzari. My husband deserted me when my children were small. He fought with me saying that I cannot manage anything and hence he wanted a second wife. I have two sons and a daughter. The eldest son is 15 years old. The daughter was married when she was 18 years old. I am living with my parents and somehow manage to survive by working as a labourer.

When there was meeting in the village regarding formation of a Savings Group, I liked the way Madam talked. She told us about the advantages of forming a Savings Group. But I had a doubt. The Group in being established in my village, the person collecting the money is also from the village. Supposing he does not tell us anything the what will happen? I expressed my doubts to Madam. She said that the money would not be collected by anyone. It should directly deposit the money in the bank in the name of the Svings Group by your group. So there is no question of anyone collecting any money from you. We liked this idea. So we women came together and formed the Pratiksha Savings Group. It was now three years since then. I attended the monthly meetings and the seminars and training ,workshops. There I got all the information and felt better. I started going out of the house for work. Formerly I worked as a farm labour and the thought never occurred to me to ever go beyond my home and the farm. Now I have two sheep bought out of a loan of Rs. 3000 taken from the Savings Group. This improved my life.

Since the establishment of the Savings Group, my problems started getting solved and I started taking interest in my work. In the old days one had to go to a money lender for a loan of hundred rupees and he used to take at the rate of 10 rupees per month per hundred. I have not gone to a moneylender since the Saving group was established. I could provide for my daughters pregnancy and childbirth. I returned the loan regularly. My son failed in one subject in the 10th standard examinations. I told him that he must not leave school but study hard and appear again for the examinations. Since the Savings Group was established I never felt that I am alone. My companion is the Savings Group and I shall never give it up.

 

 

 

 

HISTORY OF THE

SAVINGS GROUP OF HASARNI VILLAGE

The village of Hasarni has been under PIRD programmes for the last fifteen years and numerous programmes for women have been undertaken. Women from this village also come to Ahmadpur for other programmes. Thus I, was sure that a Savings Group would be established in this village. As usual when we went to the village it was declared that the meeting on that day was for establishing a Savings Group.

The moment a mention was made of "Savings Group" one of the women said " madam, talk about anything else other than Savings Group. One of the villagers took money from us on the pretext of forming a Savings Group and deceived us" After listening to all I said that the money collected would be put in a bank. Women from your Group will go to the bank and they will purchase any material required to open an account like rubber stamps, register, etc. Money will not be given to any individual. I also told them about the advantages of forming a Savings Group The women were convinced and agreed to form a Group. I felt happy that the meeting was successful.

The next day one of the women. Chyayabai came to our office and said that the village women were reluctant to form a Savings Group. I was surprised because only the day before they had agreed. I went to the village again and found that the men had advised the women not to form a group as there would be no benefits and the women would have to go to Ahmadpur again and again. I then called a few men and women and again explained the advantages of the scheme. They then agreed. A Savings Group made up of thirteen women was formed and an account opened at the Bank of Maharashtra, Ahmadpur. All went well for a month. Then 7 out of the 13 women wanted to opt out of the Group. Again a meeting was held to find out the reason. The men had again opposed the idea fearing that if the women went out of the home for Saving Groups work, the house hold work would suffer. They said " ---Gojamebai--- had no work and was making the women leave their homes ".I was perplexed. Then my colleague Mangala said that I should take a firmer attitude. I should not plead with anyone to join the group and wait for the women to come to me. I accordingly told the women that there was no compulsion and that let the group function for six months.

I kept going to the village as usual. After two months other women started attending the meeting. We told them to attend the meetings even though they were not joining the Savings Group. In the meanwhile the head of PIRD, who is my husband, asked how the Hasarni Group was broken and that we were not able to organise it properly. I told him that it is not easy to form a group, it requires a lot of time. My husband was not satisfied and said we were not able to form a group even with so much time. He may have his reasons but I felt that it was no use forming a group in a hurry only to see it close down. The Group functioned well for six months. Women kept meeting me and visit the bank and the Tehsil office. I kept on encouraging them to do so without fear.

After six months Sangeeta Sudhakar Tidole, Bharatbai Trimukh gaikwad and Bhagiratha Gahinaji Gaikwad came to the office and said that they wanted to join the Group, that remaining out side was their mistake. I said that the decision to take them back was not in my hands but will be taken by the Group members. They held a meeting in the village and they were readmitted in the Group. They started attending the meetings and paid no attention to the snide remarks made by others. The Group is now nine months old.

After one month Nirmalabi joined the group after she was cleared to do so by the Group members. Now a group of ten women has been functioning smoothly. I also felt happy at taking the meetings. We discussed many subjects such as the importance of the members, their status, the co-operation given by others in the household, etc. I told then that the Savings Group was not only to get credit but also formed a pressure group in the village.

Once, members of the group and other village women came to Ahmadpur for a gathering. There they heard me speak and sing with great enthusiasm and force. My song made them aware of the facts of life. Women work day and night but do not have even a small piece of land in their name. The utensils they cook in, the house that they look after, nothing belongs to them. They do not have any decision-making role in the house. After the meeting, Ratnabai Tridole was late returning home. Her mother in law was angry because on that day the entire house holds work had to be done by her. They had a bitter fight. When the husband returned home his mother told him about Rattans late coming and the husband also shouted at her. Ratnabi kept quiet for two days. She felt that it would be humiliating to leave the group and her job as the secretary. After two days she spoke to her mother in law. She requested her not to shout at her or get her son to fight with her. She said that if this happened she would not have any interest left in the house. Ratnabai told the mother in law that she was unaware of what was happening in the outside world. Ushabai in her song showed us how nothing belongs to us women and we unnecessarily fighting amongst ourselves. She requested her mother in law to start attending the meetings and see for her the work that was being done. Her ignorance was also because she was not allowed to go out of the house. The mother in law was stunned to hear this and felt that the daughter in law was saying something strange. So she also started to attend the meeting to hear what the women were discussing. During my next visit to the village Ratnabai told me what had transpired. I sat taking with the mother in law and made her aware of what was happening, The husband continued to get angry on Ratnabai. He told her " Mother your were against the Savings Group, now you are taking her side ". The mother told her son " You are not to get angry when she leaves the house. She is doing good work". The son kept mum after listening to his mother. He was told not to come in between the two women.

Today, the mother in law helps Ratnabai in her work. If someone asks her about the group, she gives all information and fully co-operates with the Group. Ratna is now happy because the husband does not quarrel anymore and the work of the Group has also increased. The Groups turnover is nearly ten thousand rupees and the Institute has given a loan of Rs. Forty thousand. Thus the Group is on a solid footing. No one now goes to the moneylender for a loan. The group is running well for the past three years.

The Group has also taken part in other public issue such as taking attendance at school and distribution of sweets. When there is a power failure the women go to take up the matter with the sarpanch. They support any agitation held in any other village. The work of the Group is being conducted with unity. Kashibai Maruti Gaund, the President of the Group proudly states that the Savings Group will never close even till her death.

 

Usha Gojame , PIRD ,Ahmedpur

Dist: Latur 413515 (INDIA)

Ushatai_gojame@yahoo.com

 

The leader of Hasarani village SHG
img_7031.jpg
Ratanabai Tidole