SHG Moved to Earn Livelihood

Priya self-help group (SHG) was formed in 2014 by Anganwadi Worker in the village Baneya of Sitapur block under Surguja district. Though the SHG was created in papers, its members were not aware of their roles and responsibilities and no regular meetings were held by them. Samarthan workers paid visits to the house of members of this SHG and collected more information about it. Initially, members of the SHG were reluctant to pay attention to these visits as they did not know the way how being a member of SHG can help transform their lives in a positive manner. It was found that members of the SHG did not have a cordial relationship with them and did not meet regularly let alone having regular savings.
Samarthan workers asked President and Secretary of the SHG to have regular meetings of its members and also attended some of these meetings. Initially, the focus was on maintaining unity among its members and they were motivated to attend meetings of the group. They started saving about Rs. 100 per month and their record keeping were also improved. They had reservations about inter-loaning among members and wanted to keep their savings in a bank account only. Samarthan workers told them benefits of inter-loaning on need basis among members. Members of the SHG paid heed to the advice and started giving loans to each other based on genuine requirements. Meanwhile, grading of the SHG was completed and it received Rs. 15000 as subsidy amount from Janpad Panchayat.
At a time when the group has seen significant transformation in comparison to its previous state, a five-day training of women from village organizations was to be organized in the village under Bihan program of Government of Chhattisgarh. Samarthan Volunteer Miss Malati Soni got to know from Assistant Development Officer (ADO) Janpad Panchayat that contract for preparation of food for the training has to be given to an SHG which has at least Rs. 20000 in its account. She put the same proposal before members of Priya SHG who readily got agreed for the same. With mutual cooperation, they prepared food for 30 participants of the five-day training session. They charged for it on the basis of consumption of plates and with an investment of Rs. 7000, Priya SHG earned Rs. 12000. This acted as a morale booster for members of this SHG and they got confidence and motivation to take similar initiatives in future also. Apart from this member of the SHG developed unity and the amicable relationship among them. They started taking contracts for making food at other Panchayat level training or other programs also.
At present Priya, SHG is taking contracts for food preparation not only at Panchayat level but in other blocks of Surguja district also. Recently it took the tender for food preparation in Mainpat village of Surguja district for a 20-day training program. There has been a significant improvement in the economic condition of members of Priya SHG as they have been involved in livelihood based activities continuously apart from savings and meeting regularly.
The President of Priya SHG expresses gratitude towards workers of Samarthan for showing SHG members right way and guiding them. This case illustrates an example of how getting involved in livelihood based activities can give a completely new direction to an SHG. 

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