Gita Mehta is the leader of a Majkhali Self Help Group formed in 2000. In addition
Gita heads up the Majkhali Umang training centre teaching knitting and stitching
as well as running a village shop selling Umang products. Confident, and self sufficient
Gita is a role model for many young women in the community, and yet it wasn’t always
Gita’s husband passed away three years into her marriage in 1996 leaving her a widow
with a small son. To help make ends meet Gita started knitting for Umang. At first
her family weren’t supportive, and felt it would distract from her housework. But
soon they realised how her income could help buy food for the family.
Today Gita has made enough money to buy her own house, expand her business and send
her son to an English medium school. But for Gita helping other women in distress
is her primary motivation and she offers free training to those that cannot afford
Radha Devii is the leader of a Nagaun SHG, which comprises 14 members. Radha tells
of how she tells of how she had little confidence when first married and would rarely
leave the house. Since joining the SHG she says she has become increasingly confident
and has now been elected to serve as the Chairperson of the Dusad Gadhera Bachao
Manch, a coalition of the fourteen villages in the area. Radha is a confident speaker
and advocate of her village’s needs at the Manch level, where village leaders across
the Dusad Gadhera region meet to discuss agricultural and hydrological issues.
Through the Self-Help Group network Radha has learnt about and installed a Bio-Gas
unit, enjoying clean energy for cooking and organic compost for her land.
Radha feels the major benefit associated with SHG membership is the strength that
the women have as a group. She says that women are no longer afraid to say what they
think, and through the motivation they provide one another they can achieve much
more as a group than as they can as individuals.