Self-help groups help rural women in Punjab

May 1st, 2009 - 9:59 pm ICT by ANI  

By Avtar Gill

Abohar, May 1 (ANI): A large number of women in Punjab are gaining self reliance with the help of self-help groups (SHGs) operating under the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozagar Yojana (SGSY), a poverty eradication scheme launched by the Government of India to promote employment opportunities. In Muktsar district of southwest Punjab, women are getting vocational training in designing, embroidery, knitting and making of stuffed toys, thanks to the `Swaranjayanti Gram Swarazagar Yojana’, a scheme under which assistance is given to the poor families living below the poverty line in rural areas. “Many self-help groups are engaged in dairy farming. There are two stages of giving them loans. Primarily, they are given a loan of 200 USD. After six months, when the group makes a tie-up with the banks with their savings, another loan of 4,000-5,000 USD is given to them. There are a total of 98 self-help groups in the area, who have been given big loans,” said Varun Rujum, Addl. Deputy Commissioner, Muktsar. Muktsar district has over 330 self-help groups in operation to help rural women take-on stitching, embroidering and pickle making. Kuldeep Kaur, a differently-abled woman, runs one such self-help group. She herself is a beneficiary and today she is engaged in enabling others become self-reliant. Self-help groups have been able to provide sustainable income to the rural poor while building upon their potential entrepreneurial activities. The groups even enable the women to discuss their personal and other social issues. “The sales are very good. By learning different skills here at the training center, we can start our own business in the future and earn a livelihood. We are imparting training here to be able to stand on our feet, and will not face any problem in the future,” said Suman Rani, member of the Self-Help Group.

“When a woman gets a chance to go out of home and meet people, she acquires a lot of knowledge. She can raise her voice against atrocities on women. It is very important for a woman to be educated and she should also be an expert in every work. Women should know household work but they should also learn stitching and designing,” said Kuldeep Kaur, member of the Self-Help Group.

In village Sikhwala of Muktsar district, the clothes and embroidered items were put on sale in the village. And, the response was overwhelming. It enabled villagers to get the items locally and the self-help group members earned handsome profits. (ANI)

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