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Haryana Government’s Rural Livelihood Mission is empowering women through Self-help groups, making them self-reliant

Saras Food Festival is presenting picture of Mini India at One Place SHG Groups Emerging as Milestones Meeting Monthly Expenses Was Also a Big Challenge Started with ₹50, the Group Has Become a Cornerstone Group Allotted a Canteen in Panchkula, Also Running Stalls in Melas Across Other States Mother-in-law and Daughter-in-law Managing the Stall, Government Boosts Women to Stand on Their Own Feet

Breaking free from household responsibilities and benefiting from government schemes, the women of Haryana are advancing towards self-sufficiency, establishing themselves as successful entrepreneurs in society. The state’s Rural Livelihood Mission, formed under the guidance of Chief Minister Shri Manohar Lal, is showing these women a new path of self-reliance.

A woman named Vandana, who was leading a life similar to an ordinary homemaker before 2018, is now supplementing family’s income by joining an SHG. She alongwith her group started a business of preparing Haryanvi cuisines. Earlier, her family’s financial situation was not favorable. However, by joining Haryana Government’s Rural Livelihood Mission, she, along with many other women, has worked to bring light into their lives. Vandana says that she never even dreamt of setting up her own food stall in Saras Food Festival in a big city like Delhi when she came from her village. Through the Self-Help Groups (SHGs) established in the state, her life and the lives of her entire family has transformed. She proudly states that the family, which was once facing difficulties, has now become a happy and prosperous one.

Vandana has set up a stall at the Saras Food Festival on behalf of the Haryana state. Here, Delhi residents are liking the Haryanvi dishes such as Bajra Churma, Bajra Khichdi, Makki Ki Roti and Masala Lassi. The aroma of delicious dishes from various states is inspiring travellers to become a part of this Saras Food Festival. This festival, encompassing Mini India at one place, is providing an opportunity to taste traditional and globally renowned edible items from all over India at a single location. Dr. Komal and her family, who came to Haryana’s Stall Number 10 for the second time, stated that the Haryana stall’s traditional dishes are the most delicious and distinct. The Saras Food Festival is being held at Handicrafts Bhavan on Baba Kharak Singh Marg in Delhi from December 1 to 17. This festival is organized by the Ministry of Rural Development of the Government of India. With more than 30 stalls in this festival, over 150 Self-Help Groups, connected with 21 states, are exemplary of women empowerment. Apart from delicious dishes, these groups are also showcasing wooden toys, handicrafts, artworks made of brass, jewelry, Kashmiri shawls, and more, highlighting their talents beyond culinary skills.

By joining Self-Help Groups, women can achieve even the loftiest goals. The SHG groups, through Haryana Government’s initiative, are proving to be milestones in advancing women towards self-reliance and ensuring their participation in the mission of a ‘Atamnirbhar Bharat’ . Vandana, who harbors the determination to accomplish something significant, expresses that the dreams of women like her, who perhaps faced impossibilities while confined within four walls, are now taking flight. She says that women like her now have the opportunity to materialize their dreams through the platform of Self-Help Groups.

Vandana, residing in the village Chikkan of Panchkula district in Haryana, was compelled to endure a financially strained situation in her weak economic circumstances. Her husband works as a truck driver and they have two children in addition to living with in-laws. Meeting monthly expenses was a significant challenge for them. In 2018, women associated with the Haryana Rural Livelihood Mission’s Self-Help Groups visited the village. They suggested various activities at the village level and also facilitated training and machine availability. Training, along with free machines provided by the government, included various activities such as sewing, beauty parlor courses, making pickles, papads, salted snacks, jams and more. The government not only offered free machines but also conducted a 21-day training program. The training covered activities ranging from sewing to beauty parlor courses and making products like pickles, papads, salted snacks, and jams.

She explained that initially, a Self-Help Group consisting of 10 women from our village was formed under the Haryana Rural Livelihood Mission. In the beginning, each woman had to deposit ₹50, which was later increased to ₹100. Bank accounts were opened for all members in the Haryana Rural Bank. This led to the benefit of receiving a ₹10,000 revolving fund from the government. Recognizing the group’s excellent work, the bank approved a loan of ₹1 lakh. Subsequently, it was increased to ₹3 lakh and now stands at ₹6 lakh. “Initially, I was skeptical about joining the group, but seeing the benefits it brought to people in the village, I also gathered the courage to join the group and pursue my dreams”, said Vandana . Rural women, by joining these groups, are now working as small entrepreneurs. Some are running sewing centers, while others have their dairy farms or beauty parlors.

She shares that while working with the group, she was assigned the responsibility of cooking during the group’s village organization meetings. Vandana said, “All group members appreciated the food I prepared. Seeing my passion for cooking, I was provided training by chefs at the famous Red Bishop Hotel in Panchkula. Based on members’ feedback, I was awarded a contract to run a canteen at the DC office in Panchkula in 2022. Life changed after that. Where the monthly income at home was ₹10,000 before, it has now exceeded ₹40,000. Things that I couldn’t afford before, thinking they were beyond my reach, I can buy now. I have attained the ability to buy all those things today. My children are studying in good schools. With the increase in income, my confidence has also increased.”

“After starting this business, I formed 4 to 5 groups in my village and nearby villages, each consisting of 40 to 50 women. Since joining the group, I have set up my stalls in various states. I have been to places where it was once impossible for a village woman to go. Today, I am introducing people from different states to Haryana’s cuisine at various stalls. I am running my own business, establishing my identity in society, said Vandana. Her mother-in-law, Satya Devi, who is around 59 years old, has also joined the self-help group along with her. She assists Vandana in this work. Satya Devi says that by being part of this group, small needs at home are now being fulfilled. Members of the group support each other in times of trouble. Our family was initially limited to us, but now the group has become part of our family. The bond between me and my daughter-in-law was strong before, but now it has become even deeper. Today, we don’t have to depend on anyone’s favor. The Haryana government’s initiative has given women the confidence to stand on their own feet. All the women in the group are grateful to the government. Saying this, her voice reflected a unique self-confidence.

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