SRINAGAR: “Poverty is the biggest curse, the claws go deep and when poverty strikes, the ripples do not leave anyone untouched,” said Khatoona Begum with tears rolling down from her sunken eyes.
Khatoona Begum probably in her sixties ,a resident of Kupwara, while narrating her story said “I along with my family were living a happy kind of life ,a life which was full of happiness ,we were happy in our small world, My husband was the sole bread winner for our family and we had everything, food to eat, shelter to live and clothes to wear, the basic necessities but time keeps on changing and destiny has its own plans. One day my husband met a massive stroke and lost his right side to paralysis and that day was the biggest turning point in our lives,” she added.
“Soon after this incident the tale of our life completely changed,we lost our caretaker,the one who was feeding my family became unable to work, and He was just confined to a chair and was sitting at one place. Time kept worsening because of the growing needs and unavailability of money to take up the treatment of the paralyzed husband and a my daughter who is suffering from malnutrition”, Khatoona said.
“The whole responsibility was now left on my shoulders, I was in need of work ,I tried my luck everywhere but could not make it , Months passed I was shattered after losing all hopes I was just praying to Almighty.It was July 2014 when ICRP team visited our village,The team members delivered speech regarding Umeed and aware us what this project ‘UMEED’ is all about and through them I got to know what this project is all about and how beneficial it is for people like us ,Within days me and other women in our village like me who were in need of money to survive ,we formed and joined Self-help group namely ‘Jasmine’ ,so After the formation of self-help group ,the first thing we all do was that we started saving 100 Rupees each and opened a joint bank account,”she said with smile on her face.
“Days passed ,I along with my self-help group members started to attend regular meetings ,we just learnt what this project is and we followed all the Panchsutras (five principals of this project UMEED) and after three months our jasmine group was eligible for Revolving fund ,(RF) an amount of 15000,and JKSRLM department gave that amount to our group ,the amount was divided into three ladies by our group leader ,after some months again our group was eligible for Community Investment Fund( CIF) an amount of 40000 , I myself took an amount of 20000 from that and bought a candle machine and some material for making candles, and started making candles at home,” Khatoona recalled.
“I along with my kids expensed day night in making candles of different varieties ,I could have utilized this amount in any other business but I started making candles because our village has scarcity of power and being not so economically sound people in our village prefer to buy candles ,so I thought that I will get good amount by selling out these candles within my locality,” she said.
“After passing months my financial condition was a bit sound now ,but the problem was I wanted to setup a shop ,apart from making and selling candles , so after some months our self help group was eligible for CIF 2(Community Investment Fund and I took 50000 from this CIF2 and set up a shop with in my locality,” she said.
On being asked how much amount you earn monthly and what JKSRLM project Umeed is for you ,she said that, “At present I earn near about 40000 per month and it’s all because of UMEED project ,I suggest people who are like me to get attached with this project ,take me as biggest example, there was time in my life when I had no money to buy basic necessities to survive, When I was wandering here and there but nobody was there for me ,everybody turned up their face against me ,and at that time Umeed project adopted me and now I own everything as I am owner of a shop and make candles which I later sell to various villages of Kupwara and I have made some savings of around 1 lac Khatoona joyfully said with a shine in her eyes.