BIS #6134 DRISTI 'stitch in time saves nine' during COVID-19

by Father MAyank Parmar for BISMumbai

Khodiyar Self Help Group in Singhali village of Kapadvanj Block in Kheda District Gujarat, is situated just 07km away from Kapadvanj town. Formed on December 03 2013, with the help of Shantaben Nanabhai Rathod by DRISTI field animator Jayshriben Solanki [of happy memory], with 15 members and a saving of Rs. 50/- per woman, this SHG meets once a month. The Khodiyar SHG soon became the most active SHG and became a group of women who were in the forefront to provide access to 60 beneficiaries under the Food Security Act. In 2018, the then MumbaiSalesians' Provincial Father Godfrey D'Souza, also visited this SHG and commended them for their stellar example of accessing entitlements.

As per the guidelines of SHGs they began interloan within the group. In the last 06 years, as per the need of the members, various loan amounts were disbursed with regular payback of interest and savings. 03 women -Vinaben, Ranjanben and Sagunaben - stand out as examples for they managed to take loans thrice and also paid back the same after purchasing cows, seeds and other agricultural materials. They managed to increase their standard of living by getting an additional income from this investment. Other women purchased sewing machines after taking a loan from this group. Earlier most of these women were in the clutches of the money-lender where they had to pay more interest and had to mortgage their jewelry.

As the process of COVID-19 unlock is in progress, the Khodiyar SHG after discussion decided not to take 03 months savings and interest from the members, instead chose to distribute the interest and certain part of the savings, since the women expressed family financial difficulties. An account was prepared with the help of DRISTI staff and on August 22 2020 the interest distribution happened. The total savings of the members were Rs. 75,700/- and they received Rs. 63,319/- interest on the savings. On an average each women had around Rs. 4500/- interest on the savings of around Rs 5000/- in 07 years. Thus, they received almost double the amount.

DRSITI Director Father Mayank Parmar congratulated each and every member of the SHG and thanked them for being part of DRISTI family and encouraged them to continue the good work wishing them to come out with new group ventures where they receive benefits as a group. DRISTI Programme Officer Shailesh Parmar said,that it was a very proud and happy moment that now all the women have accounts in the bank and he wished them to be active in taking up panchayat level issues. Mitalben towards the end, thanking every one broke down, and expressed, "we were nobody before the SHG and now we are somebody. We have received identity thanks to DRISTI Don Bosco Kapadvanj and especially for the constant visits and providing of various opportunities to come up in life."

DRISTI team and the Khodilyar SHG fulfill the saying 'a stitch in time save nine', as the money they have received is really needed the most in this crucial COVID-19 time.