Overcome poverty through Self Help Groups

“The group has made me independent, proved to be strong and successful in upbringing my children and meeting the needs of my family. Without this group, I could not have thought of fulfilling the requirements of my family. It is indeed a source of help in crucial times of need and I am happy to be a part of such source.” Says Rafiqa Bashir, Member of Gousia self help group, Check Ganastaan, Sumbal Block, Baramulla District.

Rafiqa and her husband together run rice business and earn a handsome amount to meet the family and children’s need. Rafiqa, 35, hails from a poor family from Bandipora district having four children, three boys and one girl. Her life changed after she joined women SHG group. She joined Gousia self-help group in 2007 when she was reeling under insubstantial economic conditions at home. Her husband used to be the sole breadwinner of the family. Over the period of time she has been benefitted by the SGH group many ways. First she constructed a house by taking loan of Rs. 8000/-from the SHG. Her family was deserted by her in-laws. She along with her children took refuge in a shed for three years. She recalls those were “the worst days” of her life. However, she stood strong like a mountain and worked hard with her husband to earn livelihood. Simultaneously, she repaid the loan. After the first loan, she took another credit of Rs 5000 from the group for starting a business of selling rice. Her husband already dealt in this business with his father, but after separation, he had no other option other than to continue the same business because he only knew this business. After borrowing money from the group, she helped her husband in initiating the income generating activity.

Earlier, her husband bought paddy for 1200 rupees per quintal from different villages of district Bandipora, Hajin, Madwan and Markondal. After processing the rice, he sold it for rupees 1500 to 1800 to the individual customers in urban areas of Srinagar like Lalbazar, Gojwara, Nishat, Bohrikadal, Sarafkadal, Habbakadal, Dalgate, and Bemina and so on. At present, her husband sells 100 quintals of rice per month for rupees 2200/- to 2400/- per quintal. The overall sale includes 140,000/100 quintals of rice. The expenses covered on this quantity are Rs 120, 000. Thus, a net profit of 20,000 is gained in the business.

Rafiqa and her husband together run this business. Rafiqa contributes in terms of drying paddy, hulling and cleaning rice. She is a lively woman who is satisfied with the contribution she has made in helping her husband in the rice business. The SHG group not only helped her economically, she also became confident, expressive, handling business, calculate profits and so on. She acknowledges the importance of being organised which has transformed her life and her significant role of being a successful business woman.

As her business is growing, she has a plan to hire more people who would toil to hull, clean and rice processing. Rafiqa is a visionary woman. She also guides SHG members to work with passion, to win over the poverty and defeat hunger. She has been a good advisor and a helping life partner to her husband. She has been unbeaten in bringing up her children properly.

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