Today, Laxmidevi’s vegetable cart is not only famous in her community but also in her entire village of Putholi in Chittorgarh, for her fresh vegetables.
Laxmidevi’s husband’s income did not suffice the needs of the family, especially her daughter’s education. One day, she came to know about Hindustan Zinc’s Self Help Group (SHG) from other women of her village and she joined one of the SHGs called Radha Rani Samooh. These SHGs function on the method of ‘thrift savings’ and are linked with banks for loans, at much subsidized rates, which substantially scales up small-scale businesses.
Laxmidevi took a loan of Rs. 3000/- from the samooh to start making earthen pots. By selling these pots, she made a profit of almost Rs. 3000/-. But the season of earthenware had subdued and she stopped making enough money. Laxmidevi was doubtful to start with a new business. However, she had noticed that the women of her village had to travel to far away mandis to fetch fresh vegetables. To help them, ambitious Laxmidevi planned to switch to selling vegetables in her village. Hence, she took a loan of another Rs. 3000/- from her samooh to set up her vegetable selling business.
With the strong support of her family, she also bought a vegetable hand-cart. Every morning, Laxmidevi gets vegetables from the mandi and sells it in her village and today she makes a profit of more than Rs. 6000/- every month.
“Since the time I have been part of the samooh, I feel completely independent. I have a stable source of income. We don’t face any more financial problems. Through my business, I not only help the village ladies, but also earn from it. I am grateful to Hindustan Zinc for giving me my independence…”, says beaming Laxmidevi.
The Sakhi project has been developed to contribute towards socio-economic empowerment of rural women. Currently, ‘Sakhi’ is reaching out to about 19,860 rural and tribal women through almost 1565 SHGs in Rajasthan and Pantnagar.
Independent and confident Laxmidevi, who has ignited a spark of hope in other women of her village, may soon lead to a new story of empowerment in the life of another Sakhi like her…