Empower deserted women and widows in rural India

 
$11,895
$3,105
Raised
Remaining
With packed lunch nearby, Geeta preparing the site
With packed lunch nearby, Geeta preparing the site

Society is full of stories of women who have always played second fiddle to men of the community. Their lives were always in the hands of either their father, brother AND/OR their husbands and other male relatives.

So when fate throws them into situations where they cannot turn to any man, the women are totally lost, vulnerable and actually frightened.

Geeta, however had to gear up for life much before her husband died. A chronic drunkard, he was of no use to Geeta's household which had to see the education, food and upbringing of one boy and 2 girl children.

Actually he had a good asset as he was owner of a brick kiln. Due to his drinking, it was in shambles.

Geeta firmed her resolve, started learning this business, literally 'brick by brick' and also shoved her husband into helping with work.

Slowly an astute mind took over and the business started picking up.
In between, her husband succumbed to his liquor addiction.
Suffering her loss, but by this time, Geeta had made in roads into the business.
The funds provided by you all helped her to buy new material & equipment.

One day, smoke started emanating from the furnace and the brick kiln was on its way.
The family business was revived.

Brick making is not a small trade.
So, Chetana-Vikas women even helped her to link up with a bank, so that she could get more loan. Picking up labour, hiring vehicles, transporting bricks, bargaining a good price, choosing appropriate soil, running the kiln efficiently, bank transactions et al is done by Geeta herself.

This widow saw to it that her children get a good education, despite all odds.

The months of rainy season, when this brick making closes down, she has started making earthen deities of local gods and sells them in local market for these 5 months.

Friends, this is one of the stories where a small hand transforms lives manifold.
With a profit of Rs.50,000/- ($ 805) that she is able to earn, Geeta and her three children are looking forward to a healthier, brighter and more secure life. All due to your small hand of support.

Actually it also helps in realizing the inherent potential of these women who are usually driven to a life of drudgery, unending household work and usually subjugation. This life is not always their choice.
We would like you to note that Geeta is a pioneer entrepreneur who has taken up brick making in our region.

Taking a cue from Geeta, we also have to reconstruct lives of other needy women 'Brick by Brick'.

Direct all your friends to join this noble endeavor.

<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.>

Warm Regards,

Niranjana
Project Leader

Supervising & ensuring quality with labourers
Supervising & ensuring quality with labourers
Established furnace at Geeta
Established furnace at Geeta's Brick Kiln
Geeta with fired bricks in the background
Geeta with fired bricks in the background
Bricks being stacked for future transportation
Bricks being stacked for future transportation
Geeta
Geeta's house made with left over bricks
Babytai plucking vegetable from her kitchen garden
Babytai plucking vegetable from her kitchen garden

A husband after 2 years of married life and birth of a girl, doubting her fidelity just looks at his wife with scorn and suspicion and suddenly says, "leave my home, I do not want you here".

 Although nothing new in this behavior, that day something snapped inside his wife, Babytai.

She roared back, "who are you to ask me to leave? I myself abandon you as my husband".

Picking up her only daughter, she stormed out of her husband's house, went back to her parents village and started a lonely but valiant struggle to fend for herself and her daughter.

Friends, here I would like to bring it to you notice that for many persons like Babytai a New Year resolution is not for things like "I have to shed some weight" or "I will start getting up earlier at 5.00 am" and so on.

To continue living is a resolve to be completed and that too with fight for getting enough food, education, and other basic amenities for herself, her daughter & parents.

So, the husband got deserted. Babytai, without wasting time in crying over spilt milk, threw herself into earning money in whatever way she could understand.

Taking cue from Chetana-Vikas, she took loans and started diversified small businesses.

  • She established a kitchen garden and sowed short duration vegetables to sell to every one. She also has a section of flower garden to sell flowers on festivals.

  • Started a small shop to sell stationary, artificial jewelry and glass bangles etc.

  • Although a 4th standard primary pass out, she applied for a license for selling kerosene, with help of Chetana-Vikas guidance.

          Till date, her reputation is of distributing kerosene fairly to needy families and with care and concern which is a 
          contrast and a far cry from corruption ridden distribution through government licencees.

  • Indian households make designs in front of their homes which is a time consuming affair. She started another business by selling dry coloured powders to use in such designs.

Babytai, now 49, an unexposed, uninformed person living in interiors of India is actually running a business conglomerate albeit small.  Whatever profit she earns from one activity is used to push the other activity. All this after she earns her needful daily expenses.  She deliberately keeps a low profit margin to draw customers to her business.

Village people have come to know of her as a resolute and a resourceful woman who has many ideas up her sleeve. She has a nose for business where no one has thought of any. She has used the money provided by you all to enhance the carrying capacity of her small business and also investing in getting a tap connection to irrigate her
small garden.

Her respect in villages has increased and she is called in as a mentor for many actions in the village. These developed facets of her personality are a different story altogether.
Chetana-Vikas invites her many times as a Resource Person for other village women who wish to be entrepreneurs.

Friends !  We hope the festival season has gone well for all of you.

We want all of you to have a New Year Resolution of directing at least 10 of your friends or relatives to this Global Giving Page to help hidden diamonds like Babytai.

<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.>

We ensure and assure that your money goes exactly where intended and to people who really need it.
A BIG THANKS  for all that has been already done by you.

Through Global Giving, our New Year resolution is to help atleast 50 women this year.
We await your numbers in your New Year resolution.

A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR !

Niranjana, Other Team Members & the Rural Women who have brought all of us together.

Plucking flowers to sell on Festival days
Plucking flowers to sell on Festival days
Selling Kerosene fuel from home to villagers
Selling Kerosene fuel from home to villagers
Babytai assembling her wares before she leaves
Babytai assembling her wares before she leaves
On a round to customers houses to sell her wares
On a round to customers houses to sell her wares
Shunned Women of all ages at a Campaign Meeting
Shunned Women of all ages at a Campaign Meeting

Dear Friends,

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.

  • 477 women started benefitting from the pension scheme offered by the government. Earlier nobody knew the existence of this help from government and if they knew, they did not know how to avail of this pension money and also how to get it regularly.
  • An amount of Rs. 4,30,000 ($ 7,021.55) was claimed from the government by 4 women whose husbands had died accidently. These 4 women till now could not get this accidental death claim which was rightfully theirs, due to corruption.
  • Your support has also made 7 widows financially secure as they could claim shares in property like a home or land. This was all due to information, timely legal advice and help given during the meetings.

All of the above involve long and cumbersome processes with the government and efforts are that more single women should be benefited.

  • Loans of about Rs.4,15,000 ($ 6,776.62) were given to 55 women, with your support. They turned entrepreneurs and have a secure livelihood. They gained courage, self-belief, became self-reliant and most importantly gained respect in the society - a society which had shunned them earlier.

 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.

HAPPY DEEPAWALI

Thank you again !

Warm Regards,

Rural Women with changed, better lives,  Niranjana & Chetana-Vikas Team.

Meeting where the women resolve to fight together.
Meeting where the women resolve to fight together.
Gaining a plateform to share & feel solidarity.
Gaining a plateform to share & feel solidarity.
Committee members discussing future actions.
Committee members discussing future actions.
Understanding safety provisions for single women.
Understanding safety provisions for single women.
Deserted women & widows - towards a better future
Deserted women & widows - towards a better future
On the boundaryline which life had decided for her
On the boundaryline which life had decided for her

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 !

Warm Regards,

Niranjana
Project Leader

Vandana, sewing clothes & attending a customer
Vandana, sewing clothes & attending a customer
Interested in many things especially cooking
Interested in many things especially cooking
Variety of things being sold from her shop
Variety of things being sold from her shop
View of all the clothes stitched by Vandana
View of all the clothes stitched by Vandana
Crossing horizons with zeal, ideas & latest tools
Crossing horizons with zeal, ideas & latest tools
Babytai who is fighting all odds alone
Babytai who is fighting all odds alone

Friends,

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.>

Thank you again !

Warm Regards,

Niranjana Maru

Project Leader

Selling vegetables from the steps of her house.
Selling vegetables from the steps of her house.
With her upscaled mode of business - On the Cart
With her upscaled mode of business - On the Cart
With her diversified products & satisfied consumer
With her diversified products & satisfied consumer

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Map of Empower deserted women and widows in rural India