Heartiest congratulations to all of you for reaching this first milestone. Yes, we have reached our said target of 10,000 $ donations for the cause of deserted women and widows of Wardha district, Central India.
This could not have been achieved if you had not put in your support, your voice and most of all your hearts for this cause. The donation ranging from 10 $ to 400 $ have been able to make a profound impact in the women's lives. Some of their stories have already been shared with you. This Project has also been included in at least 4 different fundraiser events at Global Giving. With this 9,240 $, till date what have we been able to do -
a) identified the number of such women whose lives could be bettered. It was a staggering approximate average of 10 women per 100 households.
b) Leadership qualities in this group of women identified.
We felt this has to be their program. All the widows and deserted women knew the best about their own plight and so had the potential to steer this program for helping where most needed.
However, it was also felt there should be a solidarity between these affected women and others who are not in the same situation.
And therefore identified women with leadership qualities, better understanding and motivation were selected and they run the program through 9 committees.
c) With your support, till date these committees have organized around 115 meetings which were attended by about 1120 women. Of these about 67% have benefitted in some or the other way.
All of the above involve long and cumbersome processes with the government and efforts are that more single women should be benefited.
d) About 11 campaign meetings in about 97 villages. Around 3,780 women participated where they shared their problems, thoughts and expressed a wish to be given a chance to stand on their own feet and also to find ways for their children and themselves to join the mainstream.
So, friends, the story does not end here. We started great. These actions and experience have made us more capable and determined to help these most vulnerable group of Indian rural women. There are many women needing help. We will start again with a fresh target of 20,000 $ at Global Giving to reach out and bring in these deserted women and widows to join the society as respected citizens.
So, please keep on visiting and most importantly direct your friends and relatives to this page <http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/empower-deserted-women-and-widows-in-rural-india/>.
To know about other programs with women and farmers, please see <https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chetana-Vikas/162861643736214>.
'Deepawali' an important Indian festival of light and hope beckons.Our Indian friends can seize this opportunity to light up rural lives as Diwali gift donations.
Let us spread brightness and cheer together, in lives which have been left behind for no fault of their own.
Thank you again !
Rural Women with changed, better lives, Niranjana & Chetana-Vikas Team.
Vandana always feels that people can do better, make more efforts to improve their situation. She is perplexed seeing the lethargy which many times surrounds her. People with resources, good health or even with time on their hands choose to while away their life and also complaining about their own situation.
Vandana, a spirited person and personality has a large giving heart and wants to help people consistently. Many times a difficult proposition for HER, sitting at her home, as she cannot visit her neighbors also.
For, Vandana has no hands to hold to and no legs to stand on.
She reaches out with her head and heart !
For a long time now, Vandana, a 35 years old has been afflicted with Polio. She is neither deserted nor a widow, but is single due to her condition. It is an effort by Chetana-Vikas women to reach the most vulnerable amongst the underprivileged.
BRANDED, as a 'lame', a 'burden', 'unnecessary & unimportant' person throughout her life, she was again branded 'over smart' when she decided to start a small trade to fend for herself.
"Why does she want to take this trouble ? She will lose their money. Her parents can feed her. She is just a show-off".
Around 15 years earlier, there was a tailoring shop in front of her house. She pestered the tailor to teach her small jobs like sewing buttons, eyes and other tit-bits on the clothes he used to make. Then she badgered him to give these types of work as a job to herself. He obliged.
This is how Vandana started earning small money ranging from Rs. 5-50 (USD $ 0.08 - 0.83).
She again pestered her parents to buy her a hand sewing machine. No one in the family thought that she should and could go ahead with the idea and told her that she should be satisfied with whatever she was earning.But they had to give in, seeing her determination.
Tired of asking people for money, she came in contact with women of Chetana-Vikas, formed her own group of Self-Help with 16 women. They contributed Rs.100 (USD $ 1.66) each month and slowly the savings grew.
The relationship with Chetana-Vikas also grew with ample support and advice from time to time to her.
Since, she lived in a small village, the money was inconsistent. She decided to set up a small shop. She again faced a wall in her family who did not like the idea. They were afraid that, they will be required to run around bringing material for the shop, since Vandana herself could not move around and go anywhere.
With able support from Chetana-Vikas women and with financial support from all of you, Vandana today is a proud owner of a small, diversified shop where she keeps cloth material, cosmetics, stationary and other things. This program enabled her to get a loan of Rs.15,000/- (USD 249.29) . Through this money, she has a deal with an auto rickshaw driver. With great difficulty, she climbs and gets in & out of the auto rickshaw, which is extremely painful for her. The auto takes her to the city, she buys wholesale material in shops and is dropped back at her village, in front of her home. She has to be helped each time into and out of the auto rickshaw.
But she does not need her relatives to run her shop.
The shop has started and is running well. With improvement in her economic condition, she is eager to help other persons with disabilities to improve their life.
The photographs here say it all.
In future, Chetana-Vikas support staff are determined to try to get a motorized tri-wheeler for her through her own savings, so that her plans are not dependent on anyone's whims and fancies.
Vandana is eager for life and evidently the sky is NOT the limit for her.
Come friends let us join her spirit and implore others to join too.
<http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/empower-deserted-women-and-widows-in-rural-india/,>. We are also accessible on <https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chetana-Vikas/162861643736214.>
Vandana sends a BIG Thank You !
The help of only about $ 83 from your side gave Babytai an opportunity to upscale and also diversify her business. It took all of $ 83 loan amount to register a net profit of $ 42 in the very first few months of the loan. The graph has started picking up.
Babytai is a 60 year old widow whose husband expired due to a paralytic attack. It was more or less a hand to mouth existence with the burden of bringing up and educating her two daughters and one son.
Doing odd jobs, working also as a daily wage labourer, Babytai was hard put to make ends meet. In between she started selling vegetables. She used to carry a basket full of vegetables on her head, travelling on foot, going house to house to market her goods.
Apart from her own village, she used to visit nearby 3-4 villages about 4-5 kms away, to find new customers, sometimes on foot and sometimes taking a passenger vehicle. At the most, Rs.100 ($ 1.66) would be the highest amount earned through this mobile business.
She had an old broken cart which could have been pushed manually. But it needed expensive repairs and it stayed put.
With the support of just $ 83, which came along because of Global Giving, she first had the cart repaired and bought many other things to reduce her dependence on vegetables which were perishables.
The wheels started moving. With her wares on the cart, she could make rounds of her own village and in double quick time. There was space for more variety of vegetable. Lastly, but important, the customers could stand and buy the vegetables needed which was a faster and preferred mode rather than the basket where she always needed help to upload on her head and download to the ground.
Part of this help was also used for buying new capital goods. Her diversification of business brought in new customers like young children and youth who wanted chocolates, biscuits and ready made snacks.
Very soon this new wing of her business was set as a small shop at her house and she taught her daughter-in-law to look after it.
Her faster and easy access to customers, her diversified business, now even allowed her time to still work in the field to earn income as a daily wage labourer.
The wheels have indeed started moving.
Friends, there might be a feeling sometime that the help given is like a drop in the ocean – insignificant. NO. Let me assure you that each and every help from your side, either big or small, triggers cumulative positives which result in very significant and relevant impact to people’s lives - where it really matters !
We remain upbeat about the steady donations coming in from your side. Thanks a lot and do keep visiting us with your friends on <http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/empower-deserted-women-and-widows-in-rural-india/,>. We are also accessible on <https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chetana-Vikas/162861643736214.>
Your support which is used for this project helping vulnerable widows and deserted women, gave Jayashree an opportunity to think differently. Egged on and encouraged by other women of the village, she has sought a loan of Rs.25,000 ($406) and with some struggle, has put up a machine to make vermicelli. This is a produce processed from wheat and widely liked and used by the villagers in their meals. The traditional process of making vermicelli is manual and very tedious for rural women. Using this machine saves their time.
From being a widow struggling to make ends meet, 31 year old Jayashree is on her way to become a successful entrepreneur.
Thrown out her house within 3 years of her husband’s death, life seemed a black hole for Jayashree Kathane.
Although, she had about 1.5 hectares of agricultural land which was on her husband’s name, there was no roof above her head, worth the name.
With a 5 year old daughter and a 7 year old son in tow, she erected a dilapidated structure near her in-laws house, and weathered harsh heat and battering rains for many months.
For 1 year, she fought with her in-laws for some space to build a proper structure for herself and her children. At last they gave her some space near their house. She mortgaged little jewellery that she had, got help from her own father and built a house which could give her small family some security.
A safe abode secured, she started farming her land and sending her children to school. Her son named Akash (meaning - the sky) and her daughter named Dharati (meaning - the earth) helped her in farming their dryland.
Since there was no ready capital, she usually secured a loan of Rs.50,000 ($ 812) and Rs. 10,000 ($ 163) from her SHG with Chetana-Vikas and used it to till her dry land, sow the fields and harvest the crops with help of outside labour. But, with no remunerative price to agriculture produce, the meager profit was used to repay the loans and her family continued to live on subsistence. And thus their life continued for the next 9-10 years.
Despite some machine service problems and lack of experience, she could save about Rs.12,000 ($ 195 ) out of this small business, in the very first year. She still has to repay the amount to the Women Federation, but is looking forward to starting her processing again this year.
Jayashree’s in laws are still not co-operative with her, but she is happy about the increased prospects of providing a decent higher education to her children which this business will now enable her to.
As you might have noted by now, this our combined endeavor alongwith you aims to bring out the best in women, by way of skills, entrepreneurship, personality development. They in turn help other women to come out of their shells who are still struggling about their rights and also livelihood security.
They are shunned, exploited and not treated fairly because of their social position of being a widow or deserted women ……..
Keep on remembering this link to help young women like Jayashree, who want to build new lives afresh.
A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU !
Any sound in the night used to startle Venu in her sleep.
A twig breaking somewhere, a dog howling or an unnatural rustle nearby, made her hold her breath and eyes widen with caution.
Only after some time passed by and nothing happened, she would heave a sigh of relief and slowly go back to sleep.
There were also times that she would wake up her small son, asking him to keep quiet and hold a sickle in her hand, preparing to tackle the impending danger.
Fortunately, nothing untoward happened.
Venu from village Dasoda, is a single woman bringing up her son.
She is not single because she has been deserted.
It was SHE who actually DESERTED her husband. He was a heavy drinker and suspicious by nature and beat her regularly. She came back to her own village, her small toddler in tow, but her own family refused to give any support or shelter.
One of the first things needed was a roof above their head. The day used to pass somehow under a tree or in the fields but the main question was of passing the night.
Ultimately, a villager with a kind heart allowed Venu some small space adjoining the concrete wall near his own house. She collected sticks & other material, borrowed strings and using local methods wove the sticks into a sheet. With the wall of the owner’s house becoming one side, the other 3 sides made of sticks came up, forming a single room.
A single woman is the cynosure of all eyes, especially some men. She is supposed to be an easy prey for sexual gratification or even rape. Many women just suffer this humiliation and sometimes exploitation.
It was this fear which was keeping Venu awake, night after night. The dilapidated structure which was her one room home could offer some shelter from the sun, rains and winds but not from the groping and hungry hands of unnaturally perverted minds.
As Venu gained respect due to her fight, her neighbor offered her home to Venu.
She lived in her hut and worked for her living during the day but started going to her neighbor’s home for sleeping at night. This arrangement has worked since the past many years.
Fighting to make the two ends meet, she joined the Self Help Group of Women to have some savings. Tried out odd jobs for increasing income. She also won a contract for serving mid-day meals for preschool children. Her son also grew up.
A government scheme offering support for construction of homes for the needy came by. Venu was delighted but her heart fell when she heard that some basic deposit was necessary to avail of that scheme as a beneficiary. Living on subsistence and educating her son, there was hardly any capital left in hand. The committee from Chetana-Vikas on deserted women and widows, had already decided to help her.
Friends, it was your support which made it possible for Venu to lift a loan to pay this small deposit of Rs.5,000 ($ 81) and enroll as a beneficiary.
With great enthusiasm, and with help from other villagers and women friends she has constructed a house. The scheme offers her a benefit of Rs.1,00,000 ($ 1624).
Although living in a small house, but in reality a shelterless Venu and her son are now proud owners of a four room concrete house which gives security from unwanted elements.
She sleeps in peace in her own house. Venu has finally come home.
Dear friends, in the upcoming festival season, we want you to ask your near and dear ones, friends, to direct their gifts in a form which can help people like Venu. You can see that even a small drop can bring big significant changes to these lives. To make it easy for you the link is provided below.
Venu knows about you all and wishes A VERY HAPPY AND JOYOUS DIWALI to all of you ! The Chetana-Vikas Team joins in wishing the best for you !
Niranjana MaruProject Leader
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.
http://www.chetanavikas.org (presently under reconstruction, but accessible)