We attended this SHG meeting of women of Meena community. It is a tribal community of this area. We had read about these stuffs in books and discussed in classrooms. But this time we had live experience. This was really interesting. They initially thought that we were from government. They asked us if we could confirm why they were not getting money for IAY( Indra Aawas Yojna). But after we introduced ourselves, they opened up for further conversation. The meeting started with announcing new activities started at hospital by Sevamandir.
This is how they manage their accounts. Everybody pays Rs. 100/- as their share, interest of the loan taken and part of balance. The accounts are nicely maintained in account book and individual passbooks provided by Sevamandir. Though initially they were reluctant to be the part of SHGs, but when they found it helpful it has become a part of their regular life now. These ladies from a tribal community manage their accounts efficiently. There was a sense of mutual trust and responsibility. I was surprised when one lady cut down on her loan amount for another , who needed some money, without any second thought.
There was difference in the financial standards of the members which was visible in their in dressing style, amount of loan taken, ability to pay interest and their adherence to social rituals like pardah system. There was some who were dealing in thousands and at the same time lady in the above picture was not even able to pay her mere interest of Rs. 28/- .
But still all are treated equally as we could see. They are becoming support system of one another. With the help of trainings and regular activities and easy accessibility of credit has improved their cofidence. They consider it their responsibilty to pay Rs.100/- a month, interest and balance loan. When asked if they would like to dismentle the SHG, they said a clear no. :)
We also talked about various things ranging from their daily activities, their maternal homes, how they feel about being a part of SHG and all. They also asked about our families. When I told that I am from Haryana and now studying in Gujarat , they were surprised as well as happy. The girls from their families are not allowed to go out. When I told them that I am studying after taking bank loan, they were amazed further. When they were leaving they were happy about the fact that they learnt something new from us and same with us.
From Kojawada Village of Udaipur District,