Anuradha SashaktAs one walks through the dusty lanes of Khureri village in Gwalior, towards the house of 26-year-old Anuradha Prajapati, one can’t help but notice the bold, black letters crudely written over the front-facing, bare-brick wall.

‘This house is for sale’, they read.

“This sign has been up since about nine months now. I’m yet to clean it off,” says Anuradha, standing outside her house, clutching her two-year-old daughter, Bhumi.

“I wrote this when my husband had a road accident and terribly injured his leg. We needed money for the surgery but barely had Rs. 2500 in our bank account at that time,” she recalls, as tears well up in her eyes.

Anuradha’s husband works as a labourer and was the sole breadwinner of the family of four. Borrowing money from her close relatives, Anuradha was able to pay for her husband’s surgery and for the household expenses during his long recovery, but the discomfiture of the experience revealed to her her family’s financial volatility.

“In order to pay the debt, we decided to sell our house and move to a rented one. It was then that I wrote this sign, but most people who offered to purchase the house offered very less money as they knew my predicament and wanted to take advantage of the situation,” she recalls.

Anuradha then resolved that she would not sell the house but secure the repayment with any other means possible.

It was in these circumstances that Anuradha learned about Project Sashakt being launched in her area.

“One day several women from my neighbourhood were passing by my house and I enquired about the gathering. They informed me about a new project being launched here and I tagged along with them,” she recalls.

“In all, six training sessions were conducted under the project on various themes such as hygiene, financial literacy and enterprise development. Owing to my circumstances at the time, I paid particular attention to the areas which could help me improve my household’s financial situation,” says Anuradha.

Anuradha Sashakt2

Following the training session on Financial Literacy, Anuradha started by maintaining a Budget Diary to mark all her household expenses.

“The Diary helped me identify our non-essential expenses and curtail them. We immediately started saving around Rs. 1500 every month just by noting down our daily expenses,” she recalls.

Further, under the skill and entrepreneurship development domain of the project, Anuradha received training in making incense sticks. With an inherent entrepreneurial acumen, she soon started training many other women of her neighbourhood in making incense sticks and in a few weeks, her house had turned into a default meeting venue where all the ladies met after concluding their early morning chores and made incense sticks over endless cups of chai.

Today, around 20-25 women come to Anuradha’s house every day and the group produces as many kilograms of incense sticks daily.

“With the first Rs. 2000 I earned as income from the incense sticks, I paid off the money I had borrowed during my husband’s surgery. Project Sashakt has given me and other women of my group immense self-esteem and economic independence, and I will forever remain thankful for my trainer for this,” she says.

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About HPPI

Humana People to People India is a development organization registered as a not-for-profit company under section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956 as of 21st May 1998. It is a non-political, non-religious organization. Its mission is to unite with people in India in order to create development in the broadest sense through the implementation of the projects that aim at transferring knowledge, skills and capacity to individuals and communities who need assistance to come out of poverty and other dehumanizing conditions.

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