Malika*, a mother of three boys, was widowed when the children were very young. Despite the hardship, she raised the children the best she could, even though she was alone.
Malika became a member of a SHG six years ago. Before joining, she was alone and had no hope. She had no interest in having relationships with other women in the community: “I felt that God had given me bad luck and sorrow, because of the situation I was in. I was annoyed with everyone, even God,” she explained.
After joining the SHG, she began to listen to the difficulties and problems of the other women in her group. She realised that other people also had troubles and challenges. Many of them were also alone, like her. That made her realise that there were other people who could understand what her life was like. Through the SHG, she learned many things, like how to start a small business and be self-sufficient.
Malika realised she could do something with her skills and knowledge in making pickles, so she took a loan and bought the ingredients she needed to get a shop to sell her pickles on consignment. With that, she began to make different kinds of pickles and even took orders from shopkeepers and neighbours.
Business has been good, and she is happy. But what makes her happier is the fellowship and support of the other women in her SHG. “I love my group,” Malika said, “I miss them in between meetings. They are kind, and we try to understand each other. We always guide each other to find a better solution to our problems.”