Micro-Finance for poor rural women in Jharkhand

Sheela Kumari

Why, What and How

The main problem with single women (widow, unmarried girls due to dowry problem, disabled girls) and unemployed young women in the project villages is that they are very much neglected in the family and have problem of surviving. If they want do some income generation activity , they have no capital. Due to poor condition, the banks also do not provide credit. The major cause for such a situation is that all the women in the villages are primarily dependent upon their husband/father and on rain fed agriculture for their sustenance. There is no irrigation facility in villages of Jharkhand. 60% women and girls are illiterate.The agriculture has now become uncertain because of climate change & untimely rainfall. This ultimately leads them to sit idle or to migrate to distant places in search of livelihoods as labor or maid servant, where they get further exploited. Girls on the other hand are allowed to study till primary level and get drop out after it. It is because, the government primary schools are in their villages only up to class 5th. It is free and books are also given free of cost by the governmment. The high schools are only 3 to 4 in number in a block (amongst 200 to 300 villages) and situated about 3 to 5 kilometers from the village near block-headquarter or near market area. High school education is costly because of costlier books and some fee in the school. Poor parents hence do not send their girls to high school. There are also no public transport in the villages nor are pitch roads. Jharkhand is full of forests and hills. Hence parents do not allow their daughters to go far on foot due to fear of rape and bad law & order situation. Till they pass 5th, they become adolescent and and are married thereafter by the age of 14-16 years. The major cause for this is lack of money and a narrow attitude of parents towards girls. All the girls who are withdrawn from schools are made to work at their respective houses in cooking food, looking after kids and doing other house hold work. It is other way of child labor in her own house. Finally they are married at a very early age for which they are neither prepared physically nor psychologically. Therfore it has been proposed that through 1%Club’s kind support, the single women and unemployed young women would be helped with credit for IGA (Income generation activities). The amount given will be Rs.3000/- to Rs.5000/- by which they can enhance their income up to Rs.50/- per day or Rs.1500/- per month through goatary, paultry, piggery, grocary shop, tea-stall etc in which the women are competant enough to run their business themselves without receiving any training. The amount repaid will be given as loan to other poor women for some business. Thus it goes on revolving and benefitting more and more women for years and years. The micro-credit loan will be at 15% interest rate (called service charge). Thus by advancing a loan of Rs.330,000=00 (Euro 5000), about 80 to 100 women would get livelihhood, reducing their poverty. The service charge obtained will be 15% i.e. Rs.49,500/-. The 50% service charge will be used to pay the salary of the single staff involved in micro-credit program. The rest 50% of the service charge i.e. Rs.24,000/- will be used to sponser 12 adolescent girls @ Rs.2000/- to one girl for school fee, books-copy-pen, dress etc. for high school education for one year with a written agreement with their parents that they will not marry her till she passes 10th Standard, by which she becomes approximately 18 years of age. Till date none of the parents break this agreement. If anybody will try to break this agreement then they will have to return the entire amount being provided by the organization for education and will have to face legal suits as marriage below the age of 18 years is illegal in India. The girls will be sponsered in group of 4 to 5 in one village so that they can go to-gether and parents will have no objection. The girls who complete their schooling work as a volunteer for the organization. The girls will be selected for sponsorship on the following criteria: 1. One who belongs to economically backward situation specially children of widow, single women. 2. The girl who has willingness to study. Thus through this proposed project Stri Shakti solves both the problems by one initiative i.e. improving socio-economic condition of poor rural women and also sponsoring adolescent girls for education in a sustainable way who otherwise drop-out after primary eduaction. It is like hitting two birds by one stone. The girls who attend high school have various benefits over those who have not got the chance to enter school. The benefits are: 1. Self-dependant 2.Knowledge of health and hygiene. 3.Aware about her rights. 4.No social exploitation 5.Become extrovert and confident
Project Goal - Socio Economic empowerment of widows/single/disabled/rural poor women and educating drop out, non school going adolescent girls for higher education Specific Objectives - Generating livelihood opportunities for widows/single/disabled/rural poor women - High school education arrangements for drop outs and non school going adolescent girls. - Enhancing dignity and participation of women in family and community decision. - Stopping girl-child marriage
Expected project results are: 1. Socio-economic empowerment or poverty eradication of 100 rural poor women in first year and another 100 women in coming each year (another loan may be given to same women in 2nd year after successful & timely repayments) 2. Enrollment of 12 drop out & non school going adolescent poor girls in schools in first year and will be given for 5 years (standard 6th to Standard 10th) to one girl. After 5 years or completion of Xth Stnd, another 12 girls will be sponsored in 6th year and so on 3. Eradication of girl-child marriage of the sponsored girls 4. The sponsored girls after completion of education may work as volunteers to motivate other girls to go to school and not get married at childhood before the age of completing 18 years. (This is also the legal age for marriage). They may also educate adolescent girls group on Reproductive Health, HIV_AIDS prevention and menstrual hygiene.


The project directly contributes in poverty alleviation by promoting IGA and livelihood opportunity to women. Generally rural poor women are financially very weak and are not supposed bankable. The project provides micro-credit facility to them. Also it sponsors poor girls for high school education by the interest amount. High school education is another step towards confidence building and opening doors for jobs and employment.


The 5000 euro grant is not used as expenditure but is used as a CAPITAL for revolving loan for IGA to poor women members of Self help groups. We have 5 years of experience in micro-credit program and thus the amount will come back again in instalments by the income of the loanee women members from the business they do with the loan taken. The girls are also sponsored by the interest (service charges) which will come for years and years till there are Revolving Capital with us. The loan repayment begins after one month itself so we will be able to send the first girl to school after three months of the start of the project. Thus our proposal is an innovative and is a very sustainable way of poverty eradication, women’s empowerment and girls’ education. As it is a Revolving Capital, the benefit will continue to many years and years benefiting more & more women and girls.