Indian Cooperative is presenting a fascinating story of SHGs being run by Maharashtra based Jalgaon Janata Sahakari Bank and transforming lives of more than 80 per cent of women folk in the district. And the inspiration behind this laudable initiative is Mrs. Shobha De Patil who joined as director in the bank in 1994 and saw to it that leaders of different political stripes showed concern about the lives of women living in rural areas.
Presently, the bank is running about 3500 self-help groups which have more than 60,000 active women members. “We are giving training to them in different fields including how to make Papad, liquid soaps, Masala, chips etc. These women sell products under the brand name of Jalgaon Janata Sahakari Bank Self Help Group. This has enabled them to earn Rs. 5-6 thousand per month”, she said proudly.
“Where there is a will, there is a way and this quote is applicable to these women who have the capability to change themselves. But there is need to circulate this idea and involve more and more of them in gainful activities. We have covered 80 percent of the rural areas in Jalgaon District”, she claimed.
”Meanwhile, we are also planning to setup tiny industries with an objective to engage 100 SHGs and give them a platform to work together under one roof ”, said Patil who also went for training to Bangladesh.
The bank is giving them a platform to showcase their products. These are shown through exhibitions across different parts of Maharashtra.
No doubt, these Self Help Groups which are being run by cooperative institutions and cooperators are becoming a game changer in the transformation of the lives of women especially in rural years. These SHGs are giving opportunities to women to earn more than Rs. 5 thousand per month.
In a chat with Indian Cooperative, Mrs Patil said ”during my visits through rural areas I found the situation terrible as it was difficult for the women folk even to survive. Then I thought can we do something by employing the cooperative model. We formed a group of four to five women and encouraged them to do some work”,
It was a training of Nabard that changed Mrs Patil’s perspective. ”In 2001, I went to Karnataka to attend a training programme organized by NABARD which was very informative and yielded me useful knowledge”.
According to an estimate, nearly 2 lakh Self Help Groups are active across different fields in the country helping the poor in society. Women who mostly run and work in these organizations manage to earn fairly substantial monthly incomes.