Nimi at her shop
Greetings from Seva Mandir!
Thank you for your continuing support to rural women gaining financial autonomy and being able to help their families. Ms. Anjali Fleury from USA has been volunteering with Seva Mandir and is working on our SHG program. She has been meeting women in the rural areas who are associated with SHG program. Here is a small story Anjali has written about a woman she met in Shisvi village.
We hope you will enjoy reading the story. Please do let us know if you have any questions.
Many thanks once again for your support, faith and empathy.
With warm regards,
Story of Nimi (changed name)’ – BY ANJALI FLEURY
Of the many projects run by Seva Mandir, the organization has made a significant impact by starting and assisting over 600 women’s self-help groups (SHGs). SHGs are women’s groups that use members’ savings to provide loans to one another based on need. As a volunteer, I’ve had the privilege to meet with many women in these groups to discuss their lives, struggles, and aspirations. In doing so, I met Nimi.
Defined by the government as “below poverty level”, Nirmala’s family income was significantly low before meeting Seva Mandir. Through Sadhana, a Seva Mandir stitching project designed to help women gain income, Nimi began doing stitching orders and gaining a reliable salary. Nimi also joined an SHG starting in her village. With the SHG, she no longer needed to rely on money lenders with high interest rates, and was able to acquire several loans. With these loans, she started a general store and has continued to expand her shop inventory and business. Not only have these loans allowed Nimi to increase her business and income, but they have also helped her meet household needs.
Today, Nimi is still doing patchwork with Sadhana, taking stitching and clothes orders from her local community, and running her general store. She’s also conducted a stitching class for local girls in her village, and has even hired her previous students to help with large orders. Overall, Nimi now makes around the same monthly income as her husband.
To her, the SHG has changed her life. She feels she has become financially independent and can provide for her family. Previously, Nimi’s husband would discourage her from beginning her business by saying she could never repay her loans. Now, Nimi says they both make family financial decisions and her husband’s attitude has drastically changed. Indeed, her own attitude has changed, and she now feels successful and confident in her abilities. She proudly shares that she will never leave her SHG and hopes to remain a member for her entire life.
Niimi’s poignant and inspiring story made clear that Seva Mandir’s continual guidance and assistance through community-based efforts has not only given new opportunities to these women, but has also resulted in women’s empowerment as they transform their own lives through their own groups. Witnessing firsthand the life-changing effects of SHGs has brought new meaning to my volunteer experience, and I feel privileged to have worked with an organization so dedicated to these communities.