Development is a multidimensional phenomenon and some of its major dimensions are level of economic growth, level of education and level of health services. Reports from Planning Commission, UNICEF, WHO etc. disclosed that socio-economic development is not uniform among States and within States of India. And, factors like level of literacy, female education, infant mortality, maternal mortality, employment, public distribution system, etc. contribute striking variations in the livelihood of common people within States.
There are a number of employment schemes which come under Ministry of Minority Affairs, Women and Child Ministry, Tribal Ministry, Ministry of Social Justice etc and every year we find some more schemes highlighting to cater the needs of poor people. Our question, are poor really getting benefits of government schemes and benefits from corporate doing CSR? What we at Rehab India Foundation noticed and analyzed that one hand Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar pushes Bihar Model as real model, on the other hand poor people of Bansibari and Bhodhutalachanpi are not part of this real model.
In Assam, in the name of Bangladeshi infiltrators, Muslims, Hindus and other people are living pathetically in the refugee camps where they are fighting for their lives. And, inequality in Murshidabad also is in progress. Once upon a time Murshidabad was famous for its royalty and now for its misery. Looking, at Anandpeta Andhra Pradesh, women want to come under mainstream of development but they do not have access to information and resources.
Team Rehab have analysed by collecting data through primary and secondary sources that urban and population living in metros are more informed and have access of government and other development schemes and opportunities rather than people living in rural areas. And reason is simple; failure in identification of need and reaching to the right people.
Observing economic vulnerability, we started to form Self Help Groups at Bansibari Village Bihar, Bongaigaon Assam, Hajjipara Village West Bengal and Anandpeta Andhra Pradesh. The purpose of male and female SHGs in those locations to provide employment generation training, distributing interest free loan, counseling etc.
Padosi SHG Programme at Anadpeta, Guntoor District, Andhra Pradesh: In 2012, Rehab distributed loan to thirty women in two different phases for initiating micro business such as petty shop, tiffin shop, tailoring, marketing and selling of sarees, fruit, rice, flowers and papad. And, each member received worth Rs. 7500/- for their desirable small business. Other fifteen members were selected for Phase-3 of same programme.
Village Development Programme: We are running Village Development Programme at Bansibari, Bihar and Hajjipara, West Bengal. Last year, we unlocked VDP at Bansibari Village by acknowledging need of education, economic and health reform. Here two female SHGs were formed namely ‘BEAUTY’ and ‘MUSKAN’. Beauty includes ten adolescents and women, while Muskan nine members. All the beneficiaries of both the groups have been getting skill development training programme in Tailoring. Paying fifty rupees per month, all the women are learning drafting, cutting and stitching of women ethnic wears with availability of all necessary equipments.
Including, Rehab has formed thirteen Self Help Groups under Village Development Programme at Hajjipara Village, Berhampore Block, West Bengal. All ninety five female members of thirteen groups were part of thrift and saving programme. The primary activities of the programme are savings and educational classes. SHG Members are encouraged to open saving bank account.
Rehab Model Village, Bongaigaon, Assam: Due to natural calamity and ethnic violence at Assam, Rehab India Foundation unbolted Assam Model Village and rehabilitated 45 families so far. At this Village, we have formed three Self Help Groups with ten members in each. Male group titled as ‘REHAB SHG’, while female groups namely ‘BEAUTY’ and ‘MORONI’. The members received loan from Rehab and performing different activities starting from farming, supari business, cycle rikshaw, thela Van, to rearing egg, meat and milch animals.
(Padosi) SHG Programme plays a central role in the lives of poor. As important pillar of VDPs at Bansibari and Hajjipara Village and Rehab Model Village seem to be very successful in reaching to the poor people. The results of the programme suggest that SHGs have been performing better not in terms of augmenting savings, loan recovery but also in terms of creating awareness and empowerment.