Palamu (Jharkhand): Kesmani Devi outbursts her tears while remembering how much she supplicated in front of money lender then only she got some money at 10 rupees hundred percent interest. She lives happily now after joining the group as she do not have to run after money lenders now. She is free from all loans now.
Kesmani Devi (62 years) does not even remember the year of her marriage. Kesmani gets emotional while remembering her past, "We used to eat chaff of rice to fill our stomach. Rice was occasionally served during festivals. I used to cover my body after stitching torn pieces of clothes at seven places. There was no mirror in the house even to see our faces. We used to eat Gethi from the jungles those days." This was not only the condition of Kesmani but also many other tribal women were facing the same a few years back in Jharkhand. The life of these tribal went only in arranging two time meals from morning to evening.
Kesmani wipes off her tears with the border of her saree and says, "Now everything is sorted. I did boring in my farm by taking loan from the Group. I sell so many vegetables in the market which takes care of my daily expenses. Three of my daughters have passed intermediate, son is matriculation pass-out. Now we do not have to join our hands in front of money lenders after joining the group. This is the biggest happiness of my life."
Kesmani lives in Jogia Pokhri village which is 30 kms away from Satbarwa block from Palamu District Headquarters. More than 16 lacs of village women and tribal women, like Kesmani, of Sudur village of Jharkhand are freed from the clutches of the money lenders. These women save 10 rupees weekly in Group by working hard as a labourer. They take loan at one and a half rupees percent in need.
Like Kesmani, Hasrat Bano also shares her experience of lending loan from the money lender, "There was a huge distance between money lender and us. We were not supposed to sit with him. We were supposed to do sycophancy. If they used to come to our place, then we were supposed to do all the hospitality. We were not supposed to smile or laugh or speak ourselves in front of them."
Hasrat Bano's face was full of happiness and confidence while scaling the gunny bag of flour in her flour mill. She says smiling, "We never thought of getting rid off the clutches of money lenders. We joined the group but didn't even think of getting a big loan to start up new business. We took a loan of 40,000 rupees from the Group to set up flour mill. We educated our seven children from this source of earning. Hasrat Bano basically belongs to Khanva village of Medininnagar block of Palamu District.
16,85,161 poor families from 217 block from 24 districts of Jharkhand have been joined to Sakhi Mandal. According to Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society, they have 96 crores 35 lacs deposited in their savings account. The state has 1,34,725 Self Help Groups. The state government has provisioned bank loan to 70,321 Sakhi Mandals under DeenDayalAntyodayaYojna (DAY). More than 7 lac families have been made financially strong.
Tribal lady Moharmani Kunwar (65 years) says showing her grey hair, "We used to graze other's cows to feed ourselves, when we used to go to other village to meet money lenders during illness, then he used to make us wait for long. We used to get loan at 10-12 rupees of interest rate. We were supposed to work for free in his place as we were unable to repay." She said,"Group has made us free from the clutches of the money lenders. Now we work as labour or any other work for ourselves. Now we work as labour for earnings. Earlier we were bonded labours to repay loans."
There were lacs of women like Kesmani and Hasrat Bano who could not make themselves free from the money lenders as these poor families were buried under the pressure of paying loans since many generations. It was very tough for them to come out of the situation after taking loan from the money lenders. Their self confidence enhanced after learning the tactics of savings from Self Help Groups from Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion to make them financially strong. These women not only learn the art of savings from Self Help Groups but also got rid of money lenders.
Bread and Butter arranged along with getting rid of Money Lenders
Basanti Devi not only took loan in times needed from the Group but she also took loan of 17000 rupees from the Group to open her grocery shop to make her livelihood strong. Parvati joined Livelihood Self Help Group in 2016. Basanti Devi (30 years) opened her shop two months back by taking loan from the Group. Earlier, she used to do kitchen and household work but now she is a working women with the sale of 700-1000 rupees per day.
She tells, "Now my son got admission in a private school. We save 200 -300 rupees in a day by opening shop in the house. We will repay the loan slowly and gradually. We feel proud in taking loan from the Group. Now we don't have to join our hands for the loan, we just have to speak ourselves. We get loan after the approval from all."
Chandrakala Devi (40 years), who was grazing her buffaloes in the farm, also took 35,000 rupees of loan from the Group to buy a buffalo in 2016. Now she owns three buffaloes. She shares happily, "We get 11 liters of milk everyday which we sell 40 rupees per liter. We earn good enough per month and our monthly expenses are being taken care of easily. I repaid all the loan amount by selling milk and all the monthly expenses are easily arranged by the buffaloes I have."