Rural women learn to bank for themselves

In India, micro credit has worked largely through self-help groups (SHGs). Predominated by women, these are formed with simple rules, – save , accumulate and give loans to each other.  Just as it happened inMarch 2003atMasturi block of Bilaspur district in Chhattisarh, when SHGs formed by Mahila Shiksha Kalyan Evam Prashikshan Parishad(MSKPP), a NGO approached the Branch Manager of Rural Bank to release the loan approved after proessing the documents. The Branch Manager asked for a bribe, which the NGO refused to pay.

Proved by the impertinent behavior of the Branch Manager and his men, the members of the SHGs decided in June 2003 to launch Sakhi Credit Co-operative Society. Points out Asha Lata Pancholi, Manager, Sakhi bank which has SHGs and rural women as account holders; “We started a bank only deposited larger saving of SHGs run by poor women but never respected them. “ Today , the Sakhi Bank in Bilaspur is a model for others to replicate. It has deposits of over Rs. 18 Lakhs got from 390 SHGs and 150 women account holders. It is the biggest poor women’s bank in Central India.

Sakhi Bank bolstered by savings and with support from SHGs have been in the forefront of sustaining the livelihood sources in the most interiors and inaccessible parts of the distric, conserving water by building los-cost ‘gayweans’, managing natural resources and participating in several economic activities that have seen them becoming financially independent agents of economic change.

However, the size of the loan accessed by women groups and individual borrowers might be typically small. Usually it has helped in battling against poverty. Though the repayment schedule is simple and short and the activity for which the loan is taken is often of a small nature. But poor women, who are in the forefront of the Sakhi Bank, use small loans to jumpstart a long chain of economic activity from a small beginning. As they have enormous pride in their integrity, they repay quickly reliably, not wanting to be seen as defaulters. Then they begin again, this time with a bigger loan- and keep expanding their profit base until they do not need the loans any longer.

Summing up the achievements of Sakhi bank, Dr. Satyabhama Awasthi, General Secretary, Vasudha Mahila Mandal, succinctly put:” Sakhi Bank has brought to the fore bonding of women and if their capacities are built through constant interaction and exposure to co-operative movement, than they could prove to be better and more efficient taskmasters than their male counter parts in Masturi. This is reflected in the words and actions of these women and it has drawn lot of praise from different quarters. Thousands of poor women living in the villages of Masturi and Bilha blocks of Bilaspur district are using small loans to rewrite their present and future.

Many of them have not ever seen the corridors of a high school, but are using common sense to propel their entrepreneurship and group business activities. Sakhi Bank has been successful in aiding employment and sustaining households giving them opportunities they never had before.”

लक्ष्य (मिशन)ः-

महिलाओं की आर्थिक स्थिती में सुधार ,समाज का चहोमुखी विकास, समाज के सभी व्यक्ति अपनी स्थिति को मजबुत करते हुये अपने आत्मविष्वास को लगातार बढ़ायें एंव समाज के विकास एंव उन्नति के पक्ष में वे कार्य करतें हुये राष्ट्र का विकास करें।

उद्देष्यः-

ऽ महिलाओं को आर्थिक रुप से आत्म निर्भर बनाना।
ऽ बेरोजगार एंव अनपढ़ महिलाओं को स्वरोजगार दिलाना।
ऽ महिला हिंसा के विरुध कार्य करना तथा लोगों को इस हेतू जागरुक करना।
ऽ स्थानीय स्व शासन के अन्तर्गत महिलाओं की भागीदारी को बढाना ।
ऽ वन एवं प्राकृतिक सम्पदाओं का सवर्धन एवं संरक्षण के लिये जागरुकता लाना।
ऽ परम्परागत एवं जैविक कृषि को बढावा देना।
ऽ स्थाई जीवकोर्पाजन के लिये कार्य करना।
ऽ जरुरतमंदो को आय वर्घक गतिविधियों से जोड़ना।
ऽ समाज में जेनडर समानता लाना।
ऽ महिलाओं के अधिकारों के हनन को रोकना एंव उनके अधिकार सम्बधी कार्य एवं जागरुकता हेतु कार्य करना।
ऽ विभिन्न मुद्दों हेतु विभीन्न विचारधारा के लोगों के साथ मिल कर कार्य करना।
ऽ सरकार द्वारा बनाई गई नितियों पर पक्ष/विपक्ष पर कार्य करना।

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