VIMUKTI @ BANKAL
BACKGROUND OF THE PROJECT:
The Bankal project is located in the backward villages of Mudigere Taluka of Chickmagalur District in Karnataka (India). Chickmagalur district is located in the south-western part of Karnataka State where Western Ghats Mountain Ranges cover a part of the district commonly known as Malnad region. It is covered by Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, Shimoga and Hassan districts. The district is well-known for its hills, hillocks and coffee estates. In general the status of women is below satisfaction, it is even worse among the lower castes. Being an estate area, the opportunities for women are traditionally defined. These women are illiterate and are not exposed to the outside world. Rural women need to be organized for any social change. Through consultation with the Gram Panchayat authorities, local leaders, women representatives, chief executive of the taluk Pachayat and villages visit, we came to know that they do not know the concept of Self Help Groups or women empowerment. With the support of the community we came forward to frame the SHGs and thus plan strategies for their Development.
The Mudigere area is 1,162 sq. kms. According to the 2001 census the total population is 1,41, 415 comprising of 25,065 families. The population of the rural area is around 1, 12, 692. Out of which 32, 324 are of Scheduled Castes and 12, 886 are of Scheduled Tribe. Out of this 60,200 are daily wage earners and 2,287 are partially daily workers. 65,950 are involved in some mixed trade. The density of population is 110 per sq. kms. The total number of villages in the Taluka is 138 under 29 village Panchayats. There are two municipalities.
THE PLIGHT OF WOMEN:
Mudigere taluk as it is mentioned earlier belongs to the Western Ghats Mountain Ranges. Due to the heavy rain and the cool atmosphere, coffee, tea, cardamom, pepper and rice are grown. There are two types of classes found i.e., the rich are the estate owners mostly coffee planters and the people who are laborers in these estates 45, 210 of them belong to the lower caste and they remain in the colonies provided by the planters. In the communities the women suffers the most. The rate of literacy in general is poor and among them the women are always deprived of education. The work in the Coffee estates begins at 7.30a.m. The tradition is that the mother has to wake up early in the morning to prepare breakfast, meals for her husband and school going children. When her coolie work gets over at 4.30p.m, she has to come back home and do the daily chores. The husband gets Rs.150/- as daily wages while the woman earns only Rs. 100/- In this society the women have a low status in life. The major part of the family responsibility is shouldered by the women. In general the women are aware of their rights but to exercise them legally or politically there is fear and threats within the society. The women in the surveyed area do need an intervention of someone who will empower them. They need to enjoy their rights and support them to live in dignity and honour.
THE PROJECT’S INTERVENTION – BIRD’S EYE VIEW
The Capuchin Krishik Seva Kendra with the support of Andheri Hilfe, works for the poor and marginalized in Mudigere Taluk with the intention of providing a better standard of living for women and children and there by to strive to build a better society. The Project assists them to frame their own future through animation, motivation, training and awareness programs. As a result today the Project has 104 SHGs comprising of 1325 members. The programs are the outcome of their discussion and decisions. The women are able to explain the need of their families or the village. They discuss various issues in the cluster meeting and plan for the implementation of the same for the best interest of the each individual member.
The well formed and organized SHGs can work wonders in the community. It is the basic foundation for community development. Soon after the formation of SHGs the Project gives training like leadership, micro-finance activities, book keeping, handling problems in groups, motivating the members to participate in SHG programs, communication skills etc. As a result the Project has built strong women federation. All these SHGs will come under 11 clusters. The cluster meetings are organized once in four months and the members of SHGs discuss their problems and share their achievements, with the intention of learning from each other. The women have realized that collective action leads to better and lasting results.
The Women come forward in SHGs, Cluster meetings and federation programs. Their participation in Group activities is amazing and they have learnt to express their views and opinions before any audience. They know how to solve small problems and especially financial transactions like savings, lending and repayment process. Now the members have taken initiative in conducting programs, trainings, inviting local guest for the program and to plan and organize public programs.
To boost their self confidence and identify the organization has conducted various events like sports and games, cultural competition for SHG members. SHG women with the support of the Project have themselves identified their talents, and have got the opportunity to exhibit their talents at the time of many Women’s Convention.
Mudigere Taluk is much quite backward and has limited scope for income generating activities. Through exposures and the awareness programs on income generating activities most of the women have taken keen interest in vermicompost, mushroom cultivation, soap making, ginger cultivation, organizing nurseries, piggery and petty business. The project has conducted tailoring classes for the young girls. This helps as an alternative occupation for some and for others as income generating activity. It improves their knowledge, skills and builds confidence in them.
The Project also trains SHG women in the Panchayat Raj. As a outcome of this training there were 11 members who contested for election and of which 5 were elected. Through all these programs the Project has succeeded in giving better life to poor around Mudigere Taluk. Rural Development is a process where people unitedly and voluntarily struggle to liberate themselves from all forms of enslavement and to create better living condition for themselves and for others.
Major Achievements of the Project:
- The SHG women’s collective strength and unity has motivated them to form 87 women and 22 men SHGs
- The SHG members discusses on the village level, problems viz., alcoholism, unemployment, illiteracy and collectively find solutions and lobby for the rural schemes.
- Through sampoorna sakasharatha adolna members have gained knowledge in reading and writing skills
- Members are engaged in self employment activities like, piggery, tailoring, agriculture, petty business, poultry , coffee plantation etc.,
- SHG members have availed themselves of SJRSY schemes
- Members have applied for job cards under NREGA for which most of them have received the job cards.
- The members have already introspected their economic standard, deprivation of the basic facilities like housing, water electricity etc.
- People have gained the knowledge on the functioning of police department, their services and how to deal with the minor complaints, dowry annoyance, unofficial sale of liquor, child abuse cases etc.,
- The SHG members take much interest on the health of family through joining Janashri Insurance scheme and children have benefited by way of scholarship
- The SHG members have protested against the irregular power supply police of the MESCOM
- The Members have actively participated in Panchyat meeting and participate in the village development discussion as it is their right.
- Adolescent camp helped the young boys and girls to handle their adulthood, they are matured enough to accept and respect the facts of human growth,
- People are aware about child rights and prevention of child abuse
- The SHG members have learnt the varieties of innovative ways of preparing nutritious food and ways and means to preserve them.
- Farmers have gained knowledge on agricultural activities like multi crops, cultivation, organic manure , scientific farming etc.,
- People protect their environment by eradication of plastic use.
- Through cleanliness campaign, people do keep their surrounding clean.
- Formation of children’s clubs help the children to exhibit their talent,
- The SHG members through voluntary services show their interest in the development of the society
- Letter campaign awakened the government to repair the road which was in a pathetic condition
- The SHG members, when they were deprived of water supply, the women went to the Panchayat office, shouted slogans, demanded to restore water supply and protested for many hours. As a resulted within six days water was restored by the Panchayat
- In Horatti Village a ration shop owner was not distributing the food grains regularly, so the SHG members went and protested and now the whole village gets the correct measure of ration and oil
- The Members went to the Panchayath and demanded the BPL card.
- In Sragudu some people were selling spurious liquor. The members wrote one memorandum which was duly signed and sent to the D.C. and put and end to the sale.