SHGs lead silent revolution in Shekhawati

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Nawalgarh, Rajasthan, Sep 12 (UNI) Situated in northeast Rajasthan, the Shekhawati region comprising the three districts of Churu, Jhunjhunu and Sikar, is witnessing a silent revolution through Self Help Groups (SHGs) formed by local villagers, especially the women.

Voluntary groups like the Morarka Foundation started a campaign in various villages of Shekhawati in the year 2000 to involve the women folk to form SHGs for their financial uplift.

Within a span of seven years, the SHGs brought a tremendous change in the lives of the villagers with women taking the lead to help their debt ridden families and solve professional problems.

One such success story is of a small Dalit colony in Jhajhar village of Jhunjhunu district where villagers adopted the SHGs module of saving to overcome debt and self-employment.

The SHGs consist of ten women each entrusted with the task to save Rs 10 from their monthly expenses. The total amount collected is then provided to the most needy members of the group on credit with a valid interest rate to help overcome a financial or family crisis.

Through the loans taken from the SHGs, various women have helped their families come out of debt and find self-income sources such as animal husbandry.

Today, their montly savings have increased to Rs 50 and they have started taking credit from banks on the name of the groups. Till August, the total saving of one of these groups amounted Rs 2,500 and the transaction within the group is Rs 55,000.

The women themselves illiterate, have also realised the importance of educating their children by sending them to schools.

Many of them wish to migrate to the towns and cities to provide their children with the best job opportunities.

The SHG system has helped women to become more confident and lead a life of dignity.

A similar example prevails in Mukundgarh village in the region where SHGs were formed with a monthly saving of Rs 100 per member.

Women in this village have opened up shops thereby proving that they can also be the breadwinners of their families.

Various SHGs of young girls called Kishori Balika Group educate their members on the importance of health, hygiene, raising children, preventing child marriage, and learning 'bandhej' work.

In Mukundgarh, over 114 families have benefitted from the seven Bal Sharamik Groups (SHGs) comprising child labourers and their families by being provided education and a means of saving. The Bal Shramik groups have made it compulsory for children to attend school for at least two hours every day.

The prominent charateristics of all these groups centre on child education, especially for girls, preventing child marriage by restricting credit, making sure male members of their families do not waste money on alcohol and other sedatives.

The SHGs also play a major role in AIDS/HIV awareness by training local volunteers in the region.

UNI

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