Pardada Pardadi Education Society, Anupshahr Visit

02 August 2015

PPES – Part II
While school at Anupshahar for girls is the flagship venture of PPES, their initiatives are not limited to girls’ education. PPES has expanded their sphere of activities to bring about a change in the lives of women in this area. Changes in mindset are more difficult to achieve, need socio-economic changes and gender empowerment and PPES is attempting to do the same.
I witnessed PPES’s work in two areas: improving the cattle resources and making the women self-reliant through self-help groups.
My familiarization started by meeting a family who were helped to increase milk yield of their buffalo through better feed, healthcare and artificial insemination. The result – increase in milk yield by around 5 litres a day! The young lady in-charge of the house was pleased with the additional income. She is planning to repair/expand her house using the additional cash flow.
PPES has a team of veterinary advisors named ‘Pashu Mitra’ who visit each house to advise the buffalo owner how this key resource could be taken care better to improve their livelihood. A large number of families in this area have buffaloes as the key household asset and milk selling is a major source of income to take care of day-to-day expenses. By and large, most veterinary care professionals happen to be male for taking care of large animals like a buffalo requires courage and bodily strength but PPES has encouraged women participation and has two lady Pashu Mitras in its team who are doing a good job.
I was impressed to observe the trust and relationship that the Pashu Mitra team has built with the villagers – mostly females. Their advice and counsel is sought and respected.
It was shocking as well as saddening to see that most menfolk in villages were idling or spending their time in playing cards or other similar activities while women took care of house and buffaloes.
On the other hand, it was heartening to see that the villages we visited had pucca roads and cleaner than most parts of Delhi – a shining example that India as well as Bharat can be clean. Apparently, a good Pradhan focussed on the development of village makes a difference.
Next stop was the meeting of a self-help group. One of the challenges is to get 10 women members who can contribute regularly to join the group. This group has 8 members and they are trying hard to get two more. In the last about 18+ months, the group had saved more than Rs 30,000/- in its kitty, a part of which which is loaned back to some of its members.
PPES has managed to organize 1000+ women in the self-help groups and next step is to get them bank loans so that they can start some small ventures.
It was interesting how PPES team members have convinced the ladies to form these groups, get into a habit of saving money, enhance their self-confidence and make them economically self-reliant.
PPES is doing social engineering to steadily change the status of women in society in and around Anupshahar.
Last activity of the day was a review session ‘chaired’ by Renuka. Chaired is wrong word here for she was standing and the group was squatting on the floor. It was amazing to see the commitment of each group member to what they were trying to achieve and their pride and a strong sense of satisfaction with their achievements.
Renuka runs the meetings in a democratic manner, letting each group leader set their targets as well as priorities. She intervenes only when needed.
I saw second line of leadership emerging and becoming stronger through greater empowerment and ownership. It was interesting to see ‘people development’ in action.
-by Ulhasmita on July 18, 2015