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Mahila Samakhya Karnakata; When Women Come Together (2)

@ Gundlupet Animal husbandry

Mahila Samakhya Karnakata; When Women Come Together (2)
Field Visit to Chamrajnagar

As an entrepreneur, I was naturally interested in learning how women in the remote areas in India survive and thrive. My first experience for deeper understanding began with women in Chamrajnagar district. They are involved in animal husbandry, embroidery and general merchandise.

At the end of the filed visit, I resolved that women empowerment is important if any fundamental change is to happen in any community. The strategy employed by Mahila Samkhya is simple for the rural women to comprehend. It is the creation of the sangha banking system.

The system entails that these women save money on a regular basis. The money is pooled into a sangha fund, which along with seed money provided by the Samakhya, forms a revolving fund. The sangha collectively decides on specific projects to which the money is disbursed. It could be for collective or given to individuals for income generating activities. Sanghas also avails themselves of bank loans. The repayment goes back into the revolving fund.

As the funds in the pool of each sangha revolves, so also the progress for the women in the sangha.

This has become a reality in Gundlupet Taluk where right education and economic empowerment gave the community women the much awaited independence, and heir story changed forever. The story goes thus; six years ago, Mahila Samakhya Karnataka got to know about the plight of the women in Gundlupet through one of the officials of the staff. It was a shocking revelation that there is a community where women were totally dependent on their male counterparts; they could not attend to any activities without being accompanied by a male. It sounds strange; women could not go to market alone; they had to be accompanied by a man!

Mahila Smakhya Karnakata stepped into the community; initiated several empowerment programmes for the women of Gundlupet. It was targeted towards right and economic empowerment. After some training programmes, the women became free to engage in independent businesses, they made decision concerning their lives and future and they could contribute towards the economic development of their household and community.

During my visit, I met a strong group of women! They are filled with success stories; they narrated their stories with wide smiles on their lips. Each woman in the Sangha owns two or three cows, have dairy farm, sell cow dung as manure for organic farming and some of them were able to buy 2 wheeler scooters to market their products.

What a change!

The most inspiring of their story is their ability to educate their children in good boarding schools and to degree level. It was dreams come true for these women. Within six years of Mahila Samakhya Karnataka involvement with women in Gendlupet; their story changed from complaint to explaining how they made their businesses grow.

The story is similar in Sangha Kolipalya in Chamrajnagar Taluk. The women are experts in Lambani embroidery. The sahayogini smiled as she explained to me that so far, she has trained about 300 women on embroidery and 25 women are working with her in the villages. These women speak with one voice. They major in embroidery work and work together on demand. They have customers all across India.

The business grows daily. The key to their success is togetherness. In sangha, the women’s collective efforts is yield more, therefore they do more collectively.

In addition, when I was asking one of the oldest woman, how it was possible for her to manage her animal farm and remain successful even as frail as she looks. She moved closer to me, pointed to the women in the group as and whispered; “the success of the farm can only be credited to these women; they did it for me” she smilingly led me to her 3 buffaloes, tied to a tree. We walk around the animals as she continued her revelation “Whatever achievement I have today; we did it together” she concluded.

She went further to inform me that she sees the animals as children to be catered for; the cost for one is 35,000 Rupees, she also said that her cow milk per day is 10 litres she is able to, save 7,000 Rupees per year in milk production only, and she also sells her cow dung to organic farmers.
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She gave me a warm hug as we departed, after learning lessons from the great old women. When women decide to come together in unity, great change is inevitable.

Lambani embroidery
Lambani embroidery

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Comments

olutosin's picture

Yes!!!!

Most times, when women have been silenced for so long, they always think that they cant do it. But immediately you empower them, it will change as if its a miracle. Women can do anything as long as they are empowered.

Thanks for reading.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

JaniceW's picture

Informative and touching

I love that you are travelling around the world, gathering together and sharing best practices from women on the ground that can be implemented by anyone, anywhere. In development, it is so important to meet communities in their own context and learn what is working for them. They are the experts in finding ways to work around their challenges.

Thank you for sharing your findings with the greater WP community. I am sure others will find this information very helpful.

olutosin's picture

You are welcome!!!!

Thanks so much Janice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The community knows the solutions to their problems. NGO must stop using their theories and strategies for them, sit with the people, learn from them and then you can all come together to strategize.

Thanks always Janice.

Next week, I will be sharing my skills too, I will train 10 women on cooking bag making, an innovation I learned in Cape Town, the upper week too, I will train 20-30 women on my tie dye. Its sexy, a give and take system of learning, don't you thinks so???

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

JaniceW's picture

I LOVE IT!!!!

I am in love with this idea of sharing solutions from women in other regions with women you meet with around the world You are truly a global ambassador for women's empowerment. xx

olutosin's picture

You Made it Possible..

Thanks J, You made this possible, have you forgotten that all my poems and articles were under my bed when I joined Worldpulse?????????????????

You have pushed me this far.....My story today, can never be told without you, you are the foundation of my beginning. Did you remember that you sent some money to me in Bangalore in 2010, May???? J, you are good.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

JaniceW's picture

Sisters around the world

My sister,

I did not make it possible; I merely joined hands with you to support your efforts. It is all you and I am so very proud to call you my friend.

Oh "You" means all my WP sisters who supported me from the beginning of the journey. I am proud to call you my friends , always.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Y's picture

This story is so close to my

This story is so close to my heart.

My grandmothers were part of the movement that empowered women in my country, and today I have an "adopted" mountain mama in Appalachia who was married and bore her first child when she was fourteen-years-old. These women who are unafraid of all honest work are such an inspiration to me.

I have written extensively about my "mountain mama" and am currently working on a narrative history of how she helped make the community in which she still lives alone, at the age of ninety-four. the story about the old woman with the buffaloes reminds me of words spoken by my mountain mama, "Anybody who doesn't have sense enough to raise a chicken should be allowed to have children." What wisdom she imparts with her home-spun words! I surely love that old lady!

I would like to know more about how financing works in this Sangha. Who manages the funds? Are there management fees that someone earns? Do entrepreneurs pay interest? Would it be possible for me to have access to the by-laws? In exchange for information, I would be happy to assist you with your efforts.

Blessings to you.
Yvette

Y

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