Thank you for supporting Seva Mandir in empowering women to become financially independent. Through this update, I would like to share the inspiring story of Manju who lives in Jhabla – a small village in south of Rajasthan (India). Earlier, she used to work as a labour with her husband in the agriculture fields. Like others in Jhabla, their only source of income came from selling their sparse agricultural crops, which was not sufficient to raise the family.
Two years back she got to know about the Self Help Group (SHG) that was formed by Seva Mandir in her village. She joined the group and started doing regular small savings in her group. While attending the group meetings, she learned about small business opportunities, how to save money and manage finances.
After some time, Manju applied for a small loan of Rs. 10,000 ($150) to her SHG to start a ‘Tent House’ business in her village. To this day, no one else has sought to start an income generating activity that did not focus on agricultural farming or hard manual labour. Manju’s business sought to fill a void in the community.
With all her hard work and support from SHG, soon her small business started showing profits, in the first year, Manju was able to repay her loan with interest back to the SHG and recorded an additional earning of Rs. 12,000 ($179).
In speaking of her business, Manju has remarked that previously she had to work outside of her home to generate an income for her family, “but now [she] can say confidently that [she has] her own income source that can earn Rs. 600 ($9) for one go.” Her openness for new challenges has brought about many improvements in the village and in her own personal life. Manju’s business now has four tents, each able to gain a day’s wages of Rs. 600 and with minimal effort. She is now planning to expand her business to include music system, carpets, and chair rentals. She recently submitted another loan application to the local SHG in order to do so.
Today, many women like Manju are able to access better livelihood options through the work of Seva Mandir. Your continued support of “Make Women in Rural India Financially Secure” project enables us to help many such women like Manju help themselves. Presently, Seva Mandir organizes 627 women’s SHGs reaching 10,000 women across 168 villages of the Udaipur district in southern Rajasthan.
We could not do this work without your support. A heartfelt thank you goes out to you all.
We would love to hear your feedback and comments on our program. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With great appreciation,
Atul Lekhra and the Seva Mandir Team
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Villagers sitting under Manju's tent setup