This is the face of the new Board of Directors of Satpura Women Silk Producers’ Company Ltd, Padar. A group of nine women, out of a full board of 11, are managing the affairs of the newly incorporated company.
Only a few years ago, they had to cut their sarees into three pieces to have a change of clothing. Most roamed around the forest areas to collect wood to sell, to get a meal or two in a day. Today, they are managing a company producing Mulberry silk, with 950 shareholders, and an annual turnover of ₹600 lakh!
So is it sericulture and mulberry farming that brought this magical change in their lives? Yes, it is. But before that, it was them coming together and discovering the power of the collective, that started the process of this transformational change.
By organizing themselves into self-help groups and saving ₹10 a week, they were able to create savings and afford credit and loans to their members at a time when no lending/financial body would be willing to give them a second look.
After gaining credibility, finding their own identities and increasing confidence over the years, they are now equally comfortable dealing with the Sarpanch, speaking at a Gram Sabha (Village meeting), negotiating with banking and administrative bodies, and sharing the dais with the Chief Minister at a state function!
Now you don’t want me to spoil the fun of discovering this incredible power of the women collective and the transformational change it brings to their lives and their villages by trying to capture the “milestones” and “turning points” in their lives and journeys through some insipid writing. I would suggest you pack your bags, put on a sturdy pair of walking shoes, and set out on a journey of discovery that you could never ever imagine sitting in your offices or homes.
And if at the end (or even middle) of this journey, you wish to be a more integral part of this transformational process by lending your corporate and/or individual might to it, we will be more than happy to have you on board. Because for every woman that is now on the Board of such a company, there are many thousands and more, still having to cut their sarees into three pieces, to half a pair to change into!
If you would like to support such journeys of transformation, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to www.pradan.net