SAHARA UTSARGA WELFARE SOCIETY completes its 27th year of its journey since 1993 and “Women Empowerment” being the focus area of work. SUWS act as a facilitator to upgrade the socio-economic status of the poor people and help to access the socio-legal-economic justice and constitutional rights to its Self Help Group women members and their family members.
SUWS is playing a pivotal role in social development among the poorest of the poor & already placed itself in a significant position in NGO sector for availing services to women’s welfare, protection, skill development, financial services, counseling services, protection and shelter needs.
In the early nineties both financial and economic well being of women folk living in remote villages were totally poor. The only undertakings they generally performed were giving birth to children, caring youngsters and other relatives, engaged in day long family activities and some of them act as a domestic worker to support her family. They had no part in social activities and even they participate they are dominated by the men folk. Majority was unable to work in a dignified occupation but exploited through several ways.
In that circumstance SUWS stepped up getting sorted out helpless women to shape Self Help Groups. With the help of Gram Panchayat in many villages many Self Help Groups (SHGs) have been formed at the village level & strengthened through in-house training’s and hand holding measure. At the Mouza level SHG clusters had been developed been comprised with delegates of the relative multitude of gatherings and also, SHG league with group agents.
Initially the groups started with saving practices and deposited in the nearby bank as group savings. After six months the members took loan from the group savings and pay the principal along with the interest. Then they started internal lending for the small income generation venture. The clusters took part in decision making for community development interventions like selection of beneficiary, recommending deserving group member for loan etc. Members are oriented on their rights and afterwards they slowly took part in Gram Panchayat Development Plan. Within few years a significant number of women joined in the local administration as an elected member.
In many villages of South Bengal SUWS started Pond Based Integrated Farming through Self Help groups. The components include re-excavation of pond increasing water harvesting capacity, vegetable cultivation on the pond embankments also other vacant places through improved technology, fish culture in the pond, rearing of hen/duck and preparing organic manure vermin-compost with earth worm cow dung and organic substance. Produced goods primarily meet up consumption need of the family and rests were sold to local market.
The Systematic Rice Intensification (SRI) method of Paddy cultivation has gained widespread success as the method of cultivation is cost effective and high yielding. Considerable increase in production, approximately 25-30% in adopting SRI method of paddy cultivation observed among the farmers practicing even among the progressive farmers who are doing traditional method for last 20 years. Although quantity increased in paddy production through SRI method varied farmer to farmer due to reasons, but more than 95% cases were successful. The farmers are also experienced through this process and are encouraged for SRI cultivation in large scale. It is observed that, the farmers cultivating in traditional method are gradually inspired adopting this method. The women are also involved in the process of SRI preparing seed bed, weeding, applying bio-fertilized etc. with men.