Mahalir Thittam - Case Studies

The Before and After

My name is Lakshmi and I am living at Mullipallam Village, Vadipatti Taluk, in Madurai District.  I joined in a SHG (Self Help Group) which started by PACHE Trust during the year 1996.

Before I joined in the group, I didn’t know anything about the external world.  I am lived under the male domination and I thought that it was the fate of women in the world especially in India.  After repeated interventions by the PACHE Trust project team I came forward to join at the SHG as a Member.  During that time, I don’t have any saving and a bank account.  Even I am very shy to communicate with others and I am very hesitated to go out of my house.  I worked as a Coolie (daily labourer) and I managed the family within my earnings and I am fully dependent on males for all other activities at the home and outside.

Whenever a meeting was conducted at the village, the male only can able to participate at the meetings.  Women are not participated during the meetings.  We didn’t know anything about village meetings and Grama Saba.  In politics also, the men folk only can participate at the village level.  I have some difficulties in hearing, I can manage without using the hearing aid because of my shyness and culture.  It created me an inhibition to my contacts with the external world.  I thought as an ordinary women living in a kitchen is the life of mine.  But the changes have happened when I joined a member at the SHG.

After I joined in SHG, saving habit has started in my family.  And I also have a bank account near my village nationalized bank.  It makes me very proud and confident.  I had a loan from the SHG and I bought a COW and I started selling milk to the society.  Again I got a loan from the bank and I bought another COW and it improved my financial position after regular payment of the loan.  I relieved from the inferiority complex and I provided good education and nutrition to my children.  It gave me satisfaction and social status at the society.

The reinforcement of the information which provided during the Mahalir Thittam meetings and trainings programme has improved my leadership qualities and the group members requested me to contest the local body election at the village panchayat.  With the support of Self Help Groups and the public, I became the village panchayat President at the first time.  Now as a President for the village panchayat, I am discharging my duties towards the development of women, children and rural development activities.  I am very proud to say after I joined in the group only I came to know to put my signature without any spelling mistake.

I am very thankful for Mahalir Thittam, PACHE Trust and fellow women for this remarkable changes in my life and I am assured, I will disseminate the same to others towards women emancipation and empowerment.