HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

Fistful of grains: women SHG’s novel initiative helps MP's poor

Ritesh Mishra, Hindustan Times  Indore/Alirajpur, February 05, 2014
First Published: 20:56 IST(5/2/2014) | Last Updated: 21:02 IST(5/2/2014)

The fist is not always the manifestation of fury.
In a remote village of Madhya Pradesh’s Alirajpur district, it is the symbol of compassion and the desire to help the needy.
In a dual fight against hunger and unscrupulous moneylenders, a group of women of Sakdi village in Sondwa block -- 250 kms west of Indore – collect fistfuls of grain in every meeting of the gram sabha and donate it to widows and underprivileged elderly people of the village.
“We formed a self help group (SHG) and women members donate a fistful of grain every month. When we collect more than 50 kg of grains, we donate it to widows or elderly landless residents of the village who have no source of income. The idea is that no one should sleep hungry in the village,” said Parvati Shankar, a resident of Sakdi village.
The SHG was created under the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM).
NRLM CEO ML Belwal floated the idea of SHG and Sondwa Block in Alirajpur district was chosen as a “resource block” for this.
“The idea (behind the initiative) is to get rid of moneylenders and make the villagers financially stable. It is now successful in the villages of the block,” claimed Belwal.
Along with the fistful of grains, each woman member of the SHG also collects Rs. 10 per meeting.

They have started a “bank” through which they are now helping the poor and deprived of their village and also lending money to women for small trades.
There are also other villages including Gulvat, Rosiya and Kulvat, where this novel idea is working well and people’s dependence on moneylenders has ebbed.

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