“45 villages in 3 districts and 250 SHG women”, the temperature was at 47 degree Celsius in Madhya Pradesh! That was my internship project in a nutshell. The challenges I faced were definitely a learning experience but I knew the journey to the destination would be long and demanding. I had to write a handbook, which I had never done in my entire life. But that’s the work and challenges we face in real life!
The tasks given required me to step out of my comfort zone as the corporate culture demands us to meet the expectations either by hook-or-crook. Travelling in general trains, standing for hours to reach my destination, and the heat to top it all! I had never experienced such things in my life, never travelled in general busses and general train coaches but that’s internship and life for you, you do the unexpected!
The changing moment came when I met a village woman named Aheliya Bai during my internship tenure in a meeting with the SHG group. She was a single mother and had two children. She had a lot of determination to achieve something by herself and wanted to send her children to school, for that she was ready to take up the tough path and do any hard work for it. She used to stand in long queues for training and had to return back home and manage her household work as well. She was paid a meagre daily wage of 200 rupees for her hard labour at a construction site, which was also uncertain.
Looking at her, I decided that I’ll work hard not because there was an enlightening moment which made me realise that I have so much and they have less, as the age-old stories say. But, to answer the question ‘Why these women have less than us’, I made it a point to make a successful handbook which will be a helping hand to Aheliya Bai and women like her in those villages and help them grow.
Seeing their adversities, I decided to put in an honest effort for making this handbook for the creation of SHG, which would serve as a guide to marketing their products. A one-stop solution to these women who can refer to this book and without any official help can make and register SHG among them and market anything they make at home and make an earning out of it!
I never thought I could do this, but hard work and my mentors’ support made this happen. Also, winning the best summer project award at the Head office of ICICI foundation further motivated me. A key learning from my entire experience was, “Always think about making a difference or helping someone, rather than just doing something for your own sake and then see things changing.”
I can never forget the love and motivation I got from these women, which were the reasons I could achieve my goal which seemed impossible in the very beginning!
Xavier School of Rural Management (XSRM)
Batch of 2018-20