Chetana-Vikas (Consciousness-Development)

VISION : Empowerment of the individual and of the community for sustainable development of their own respective lives. GOAL : Sustainable development towards : Improved production. Better distribution. Production priority of basic needs like food & nutrition, fuel, fodder, timber etc. Protection & enrichment of the earth's environment & natural resources. Recognition of the key role of women in agriculture & improvement on gender issues. More self-reliant, sustainable, biological and decentralized technology. FOUNDING PRINCIPLES : - Critical consciousness and awareness of people (Chetana); and Development (Vikas) : A two way integrated approach. - Effo...
Nov 17, 2016

RISING FROM ZERO

Triveni in front of her home with family.
Triveni in front of her home with family.

RISING FROM ZERO  

20 women come together and start a business of providing utensils for events like weddings, festivals, birthdays etc. Good profit. They buy more utensils. Things start looking up as people came regularly to them and take materials on hire.

As profit goes up a suspicious mind steps in.

Where is all the money going ? Is it only this much profit ?

The leader of the group, Triveni whose efforts got the business up and running faced charges of corruption. Things come to such a head that staff from Chetana-Vikas and other villagers had to be roped in to clear the accounts and also explain it to people who even actually had no hand in the business. They were mostly jealous men-folk of the village who could not digest the fact of the women running a successful enterprise. Now, with the group broken, the utensils distributed, the money Nil. there is only one woman who helps Triveni in the trade.

Triveni had a streak of advicing people and exhort them to shun wrong doing. She asked the youth of the village to stop gambling and join productive work. Stung by her attitude, they took advantage of her reputation and again blamed her for stealing their gambled money.

Undeterred by this experience, in fact wisened by it Triveni, a widow of 58 years decided to strike it on her own.  By this time Triveni had realized that her being a single woman and that too going about the village as a pioneer woman was challenging the established social norms for a widow.

To improve her financial condition, she took up small business of selling turmeric powder in nearby villages, getting a profit of Rs.50/kg (US $ 0.74 / kg) of powder.

With the meager profit, she again applied for a loan of Rs.10,000/- (US $ 148) and established a flour mill in the village. To run a mill, traditionally run by men was again a thorn in the eye of the men-folk. However, by now Triveni had established credentials with other women folk of the village. They came to her and supported her. This experience then encouraged her to run a small business of selling stationary and jewelry to the women, which is running well.

With her never say die attitude; Triveni still feels she can do a lot for the community. Like when, she exhorted other women to contribute their labour for  a  road's construction. Their village had no approach road. The road was then also sanctioned by the village governing body.

Friends, Triveni rose from zero to again reap profit.

It was a profit of not only money, but also of a learning lesson and skills to handle difficult situations.

This was essentially possible  from the support you provided. The going is tough for these women and they are entirely alone in society.

We stand with them.

We thank you for making this possible. It is year end. Have you directed your friends and relatives to his page ?  

<http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/empower-deserted-women-and-widows-in-rural-india/,>.

<https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chetana-Vikas/162861643736214.>

So that they share their happiness and joy in as may new ways as possible.

Like for and with women like Triveni.

We will continue bringing stories of women who rise to fulfill their dreams. We will meet next year. Thanks once again.

 

WISHING A VERY HAPPY 2017 TO YOU !

 

Niranjana

Project Leader

The material of the disbanded business of utensils
The material of the disbanded business of utensils
Triveni selling jewelry from her small trade.
Triveni selling jewelry from her small trade.
Managing the Flour Mill single handedly.
Managing the Flour Mill single handedly.
Contribution of labour for the approach road.
Contribution of labour for the approach road.
Making tea at the end of the full day.
Making tea at the end of the full day.
Aug 22, 2016

Spreading Fragrance

Kamal sweeping the courtyard of her house
Kamal sweeping the courtyard of her house

When someone is blessed with lots of wealth and the person shares it with the less privileged, it can be said that this person is "large hearted".
When one's life is a test of providence and one's pockets are empty but still, one shares with others whatever one has than this is what really, "generosity" means.

Kamal as a person and the way she has led her life is a classic example of the above dictum. 

Not willing to live with an alcoholic husband, she deserted him soon after marriage. A young woman then, she came back to her parents, but to a life of penury.
Doing odd jobs with her mother and father,  the life was of subsistence for the family.
She knew a bit of sewing and joined a class run by Chetana-Vikas to hone her skills. Her machine was rickety but Kamal could manage a bit with the small income it offered.

Life had other plans.
Kamal had a sister who was married. she suddenly expired due to illness. Unfortunately the sister's husband abandoned the children. The children's faces tugged at Kamal's heart.
She took the two year old girl child and a six month old son of her sister under her wings and started taking care of them.
Life was really hard now for meeting the children's needs, an impending education cost plus her own families meager condition. But Kamal was not the one to lose heart.

Being a frail person, she could not work regularly in agricultural fields. But she took up whatever came up as an opportunity and slogged on forward with and for her extended family.
Succor came up in the form of a Self-Help Group formed in her village by Chetana-Vikas.
By and by as savings increased, she took periodic loans to repair her sewing machine and also started diversifying by keeping related accessories for sale.
Till now, small loans and its profit were helping her slowly improve their living condition.

It is here that the consistent support received from you,  offered us and the village SHG an opportunity to give Kamal a lump sum to start an independent business.

This one time large support of Rs.13,000 (US $ 194) enabled her to buy material for making incense sticks and and she started this work at her home with some of her Self Help Group friends. She could get a profit of Rs.10,000/- to 15,000/- (US $ 150 to 225) in the past year.
Kamal works hard and alongwith her friends goes from shop to shop in markets, from village to village to effect their sales.

The small profits have enabled her to repair her house and construct a room. She has managed to marry off the daughter. Kamal could also give a decent education to both the children.

It is the smile on Kamal's face which belies the life she has led. Alongwith her friends in the SHG, she is forever ready to help others in need, runs around for people and still manages to keep her own boat steady.
Life is looking up with the growing trade of incense sticks and a young boy by her side -  an abandoned boy who has turned into a strapping youth to help her build it further.
Like her incense sticks, Kamal spread fragrance in lives which had/have no hope. 

Our endeavor at Chetana-Vikas is not just to help women economically but also to help women find their inner strength and give wings to their efforts to find solutions.
With knowledge, awareness, a bit of resources and a rock solid social support makes them make the most and best of the opportunities offered.

Thank you for being co-travelers in this mission.

Our project is -
<http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/empower-deserted-women-and-widows-in-rural-india/,>.  

Can also know about us through FB Link.
<https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chetana-Vikas/162861643736214.>

Thanks once again.

Niranjana
Project Leader

Kamal sewing clothes on her repaired machine
Kamal sewing clothes on her repaired machine
Kamal with her mother and her sister
Kamal with her mother and her sister's son at home
Packing incense sticks for sale with her friends
Packing incense sticks for sale with her friends
The strong social support of local Self Help Group
The strong social support of local Self Help Group
The young nephew helping Kamal with daily chores
The young nephew helping Kamal with daily chores
May 25, 2016

Show the light, lead the way

Mangala being felicitated by another village woman
Mangala being felicitated by another village woman

Friends, through this project, we have consistently introduced women who have stood upto challenges of life. Stories of women, gritty and unyielding in the face of hardships - monetary and social; Who ultimately could carve out a niche for one self and their children.

And all this with the support donated by you.

Today, also we have a woman, Mangala Deshmukh who has fought to keep her place in a man's world. A widow, she runs a business of readymade garments and through small loans, makes a decent profit to run her home.

But today we want to also share with you that the impact of economic self-reliance is not limited to just getting enough money to buy food, clothes or books for education.

The economic independence empowers the women and makes her realize the potential that she possess and that her new-found abilities can be used for solving many other challenges that one comes across in life.

Riding on the vehicle of self-confidence and self-realization, Mangala exhorts other women of her village to save money and join Self-Help groups to better their condition. She asks them to get organized and collectively fight for community upliftment.
Under her leadership, they have successfully tackled local issues which were threatening to spiral into big fights.

Like when, a young couple belonging to different castes wanted to marry, but were boycotted by their community for breaking social norms. The women gave their full support and also helped the couple to set their new house with needful things. Today, the parents are also reconciled and happy to include the couple, in their family.

Or when, a  woman suffering from leprosy was shunned and thrown away by her husband once they discovered her disease. But Mangala, once she got information about the curability of the disease brought the woman home, nursed her and took care of her, paid for her medicines and cured her completely. Then she made the husband understand about her disease and brought about their reconciliation. Today the  woman is living happily with her husband and children.  

Mangala undertook various trainings organized by Chetana-Vikas to understand development issues and made her organized women's groups to regularly attend "Gramsabhas" - meetings held for solving issues of the village. The women became vocal about their just demands, made the governing body sanction many schemes like importantly for improving hygiene and sanitation. Today, there are  smokeless stoves and toilets in every home of the village.

Their village was a completely dependent on private money lenders and banks. But through Mangala and her women, all of them became Self-Help group members and today all their work is done through their own savings. The villagers do not need to go to the Bank for their needs.

Apart from that Mangala is an active member, teacher of the 'out of school' learning centre for children of her village. She also regularly organizes trainings & other camps for benefit of the village, to bring in awareness about different and new issues for women, men and youth of village. 

In this way, her economic self-reliance, turned Mangala into a socially conscious and politically empowered active individual. Plus opportunities honed her leadership skills and also made her 'organized group of women' empowered and self-reliant in their own ways.

So, a lamp lights another lamp, showing the light and leading the way.

This would have been difficult to achieve if she had to keep on fending for herself and live a subsistence life, constantly wondering how to  pass another day without worries.

So, please realize that small help from you actually triggers a much bigger change than what it was given for.

So, please add your friends and relatives in your endeavor. Direct them to

<http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/empower-deserted-women-and-widows-in-rural-india/,>.  

And also the FB Link.

<https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chetana-Vikas/162861643736214.>

Thanking you very much !

Warmly,

Niranjana 

Organized villagers protesting against addiction
Organized villagers protesting against addiction
Mangala & children - out of school learning centre
Mangala & children - out of school learning centre
Mangala at cycle learning camp for village women
Mangala at cycle learning camp for village women
Mangala & women discussing issues of the village
Mangala & women discussing issues of the village
Mangala in centre presiding at a village function
Mangala in centre presiding at a village function
 
   

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