Rakesh came from a small Rajasthani village near Udaipur to make his future in Indore about two years ago. He only makes jalebi (Indian funnel cake) fresh when a customer orders it. Some people like soft jalebi, some people like a well-done jalebi that has a brownish color to it. At present, he is making jalebis at two locations. One location near Anand Bazar in the morning and second location on Kanadia Road in the evening. His overhead is almost zero. He puts his stand on public property which means free rent. Rakesh started this business about two years back. His average sales per day are about Rs. 800 (USD$12) per day. Rakesh asked for help to expand his business. ShantiSeva has promised to help in the future.
This is a story of the five year journey of Nemichand Jain with ShantiSeva. ShantiSeva gave a loan of Rs. 10,000 ($170) in May 2012 to expand his business. He is a very sincere and hard working person. He is very regular in his payment of loan installments. ShantiSeva has given him four different loans in the amount totaling to Rs. 50,000 ($850). He got the last loan of Rs. 20,000 ($280) on May 2017 to purchase the seasonal food for the upcoming festival season. His sales have doubled in the last five years from Rs.15,000 ($255) to Rs.30,000 ($510) per month. He has renovated his shop and house with his savings. His mission is to again double the sales in the next five years.
Tapka Basantpur is another new village Ravi Jain visited to interview Seema Bai, she runs a small grocery store in her home. Her younger sister Papita Bai told her about ShantiSeva’s help given to village women to improve their standard of leaving. Seema Bai also help her husband in the fields for garlic and onion. Her husband also helps to run the store. Her three daughters are going to school to do something big in the village. When she talks, you find a confident lady who wants to do something independently and help her husband to supplement their income. Ravi Jain granted her a micro loan of Rs. 10,000 ($150) to stock up the store, this will help her to increase their sales.
During my visit to Shujalpur in January 2017 I meet Anil Suri. As you know Anil is a volunteer with ShantiSeva in Akhtayarpur village. While working with ShantiSeva he changed his mind and decided to do some social work in the village. So he decided to open a restaurant and give employment to the local people. The initial funding to start the restaurant was provided by his father. The restaurant is doing good and he hopes to expand in future with the help of ShantiSeva. Our good wishes are with him.
Since 2010, International Widows Day has been celebrated worldwide on June 23rd. It is a day that we focus on raising the awareness of the plight of widowed women and their children who are suffering from poverty, social injustice, sexual exploitation, and social isolation due to their gender and marital status.
This summer I had the privilege to participate in the Widows Movement in South India and celebrate International Widows Day. I marched with 640 widows who carried signs and banners with demands for social action throughout the streets of Nagapattinam. With two trucks carrying loud speakers, they were able to shout their demands for the government to overturn unjust policies. After marching for more than a mile through the city, we assembled at a wedding hall where we listened to empowering speeches from leaders of women’s organizations and the widows themselves. I watched the women dancing, singing, and performing dramas. I rejoiced with their new found voices and strength; I was sad for the society that still allows the oppression of these women.
Empowering vulnerable women to become self-sufficient and to meet their basic human needs for self-respect and dignity begins at the individual level. It can begin by giving a woman a small loan or a job or a skill that enables them to maintain a livelihood and support her family. Shanti-Seva, an NGO founded by Ravi Jain, supports women in rural villages by giving them loans to start small businesses (such as tailoring, running Kirana Store). Owning a business not only helps women economically but psychologically it gives them self-confidence and self-respect. As the women meet and support each other through self-help groups, they are also able to make change in the communities and ultimately, create a brighter future for their children.
ShantiSeva and Friends of Kalangari join hands to empower the poor women in villages near Shujalpur, India. Friends of Kalangari will help in providing training material about, health, hygiene, women entrepreneurship and basic accounting.
Rajneesh: Sir, how is the ShantiSeva mission is going?
Ravi: Rajneesh as you know, I have started this mission in 2010. I am very happy to report to you that we have given micro loans to about 50 families. All are doing very good and they have improved their standard of living. Out of all the families, three families are doing extremely well.
Rajneesh: What is your three pronged approach to village development?
Ravi: our focus is to overall improvement of village in three area 1) Individual family improvement through micro loan. 2) Village Health & Hygiene, a) Educating School children about good health & hygiene practice. b) Educating village women about good health & hygiene rules by local college volunteers. c) Village Annual Health Fair. 3) Water conservation: Teach local villagers how to conserve water and charge the ground with waste water from the home and this will also reduce water born diseases. Promote rain water harvesting.
Rajneesh: Sir what kind of help can we expect from USA?
Ravi: I am working with three foundation 1) WaterStep which can provide Chlorinator for safe drinking water. 2) Friend Of Kalangarai, this foundation work with widow women’s and trained them in house hold skill ,so they can start home base business and earn a living and women’s become independent. 3) MedWater Foundation: This foundation teach community health and hygiene in South America. They can supply training material to ShantiSeva to be used in our village.
Rajneesh: When are you coming back to India?
Ravi: I am planning a visit some time in January 2017. I want to expand my work and enroll more volunteers to promote the work of ShantiSeva. I need more volunteers like you.
Rajneesh: Thank you sir for your time.
I and Ravi Jain visited Kishoni Village on motorcycle. Kishoni is a small village about 1,500 population near Shujalpur City. We reached about noon on April 15th, at first glance it looks deserted, but wind has cold moisture in it. It had rained two days earlier so most of villagers were in their farm to save their wheat crop from moisture. Dariyav Singh was at his shop as usual smiling. He run a small Kirana (Grocery) shop. Dariyav Singh was selected by ShantiSeva in 2012 to get benefit of small loan, under micro finance scheme to uplift rural people through creating employment opportunity in their own village. He was given Rs. 5000($100) micro-loan to open a grocery store. He and Geeta Bai ( his wife) both work very hard to run the store .As of today he got two loan of same amount Rs. 5000 ($100) and he has paid back in time. He has shown us his ledger. In year 2013 his sales was only Rs. 10,000 per month which has zoom to Rs. 25,000 per month now in year 2015.
He shyly ask for another loan to grow his business. Mr. Ravi Jain of ShantiSeva approves it while taking shop photographs, to his surprise Mr. Jain approves double amount Rs. 10,000 (Apex. $200). He will get this loan money in May 2015. This was a live example of ShantiSeva efforts to make a change in ordinary man’s life.
Dariyav Singh says in his own word, speaking about his future plans he recalls the days when no one came to help me not even bank.
It was only ShantiSeva which trusted me and helped in starting this business. I am thankful to ShantiSeva may God bless them so they can help more people in other villages.
When Govind meet ShantiSeva in October 2011, ShantiSeva had granted him a loan of Rs.15,000 to start a ladies garment, jewelry and cosmetics store in his house. He also does the contract work for a local garment manufacturing company. His income has increased in two year from Rs. 6,000 per month to Rs.15,000 per month. He has paid off his loan on time in October 2013. Based on Govind’s success ShantiSeva has granted him a second loan of Rs. 18,000 on February 2014 to buy a high-speed sewing machine. This new machine will increase his production. Govind estimate with this new machine his income will increase to about Rs. 25,000 per month.
In Govind’s own words:
I am very thankful to ShantisSeva for granting me a 2nd loan of Rs. 18,000. I will work heard and increase my income