Rani Bai- Fattukhedi, Madhya Pradesh

Rani Bai’s husband was dead against her joining a self-help-group. He said he would not spend a single penny on what he thought to be an utter wastage of time, energy and money. He also said that Rani is welcome to go join the futile exercise, but she has to manage it on her own.

Rani hails from Fattukhedi village, 15 kms from the Sada Colony GIDF office, Madhya Pradesh. Like most other women in her OBC dominant village, she worked as a mine labourer, and used the extra income to meet household expenses. However, at the time when ACM GIDF’s Field Representative told her about the concept of SHG, she was jobless. The mine where she was working had shut shop. Though it was tough, Rani decided to go against her husband’s wishes, and joined the SHG. Soon afterwards, she became so active in decision making and organizing regular meetings for the women, she was elected the president of the SHG. With sheer hard work, and regular inter-loaning at minimal interests, the SHG soon built a sizable corpus fund. This was backed up by a revolving loan from a local government bank.

Just when things seemed falling into place, disaster struck Rani’s family. Her husband had a heart attack and had to be admitted to the Guna Hospital. Doctors informed Rani that to save her husbands life she has to arrange for Rs 25000 immediately. Rani wanted to mortgage their family land to raise the amount through a Bank Loan at high rates of interest. When the SHG members came to know about this, they pooled all their resources back into the corpus fund and asked Rani to take a loan from the SHG instead.

Rani’s husband was operated upon successfully. He was sorry as well as ashamed that his life was saved by the same SHG for which he always cursed his wife. For him, it was a lesson learnt – he now has promised to become an active supporter of the SHG movement and encourage his fellow men in the village to do the same.