POONAM – Smashing Patriarchy and Helping Others to do the Same
“Ants federate. So do Crows. Doctors, lawyers and other such group all federate and act as a unit. We, the women, constitute half the people on earth and suffer more than any other group. Why should we not come together as sisters and solve our problems?”
Before Poonam joined a SHG, she had little to fall back on. Battling with low wages and an alcoholic husband, Poonam’s life took a turn for the better when she came to know about the simple but essential SHG processes. Her first purchase was a goat for income generation and as the only educated women within her group, she helped others in approaching banks and government offices.
Despite extreme disapproval of her husband, Poonam held strong and later formed a Block Organization, through which multiple SHGs and Village Organizations were federated. She was also steadfast in her farming efforts for improving her family income, which has enabled her to buy a ‘pucca’ house and educate her children.
Meanwhile she has continued to encourage and mobilise other women and today, she can confidently express, “We are no longer afraid of the government machinery. We have realised what is rightfully ours can be demanded when we stand together and assert ourselves as a group.”