REHMATUL: Fighting Poverty and Threats to Emerge as a Village Leader
Rehmatul was married into a poor family of bonded labourers and her life was a daily struggle for food and water. When her son died of meningitis, her husband went into deep depression. It was the support of the women in her SHG that offered a ray of hope.
With financial support, she started an egg stall and invested the money she earned. With newfound confidence and continued support from her SHG sisters, the emotional heaviness in her home had lifted and she even managed to help her father-in-law escape the clutches of an exploitative moneylender.
Her decision to run for the position of the village Pradhan (local leader) was met with great opposition, even escalating to death threats. When riots broke out within the village, Rehmatul and the Village Organization, of which her SHG was federated, lodged a formal complaint against the current tyrannical Pradhan.
Rehmatul was triumphant in her struggle, eventually being elected as the village Pradhan, and has since made critical improvement to infrastructure, livelihoods and women’s critical condition. She remains humble and grounded today, and still relies on her SHG members and family for support and love.