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Fighting All Odds : Sami Devi’s Story Of Courage

“She cannot give birth to your baby, so why don’t you re-marry to get a successor.”

When these kind of statements come from relatives and neighbors, people who are supposed to be a woman’s friends, her plight is beyond tragic . Mrs. Sami Devi from Palesar, a village of Kotra, shares a similar story. Except hers is a story of courage, beyond everything else.

She married Lakshman in 2003, who was a tailor by profession. After some years of marriage, he worked as an instructor of Seva Mandir’s (an NGO’s in the area) non-formal education centre for 6 years. After this, he started a kirana shop in Kotda market. In the midst of all of this Sami Devi joined a local Self Help Group which has been renamed in the year 2014 as Shiv Parvati SHG. The members of the group currently save Rs. 100/- every month.

Sami Devi seemed to be entrepreneurial from the beginning, but it was after becoming a member of the SHG that her financial understanding grew exponentially. She persisted in the goal of better her and her husband’s situation, even while being criticized for not being able to conceive a child. She took to visiting many doctors, where she found out that her inability to become a mother was due to a tumour in her uterus. As the pain, both physical and emotional, became part of her life, she started the kirana shop in her own house with the support of her husband in year 2006 with Rs. 1,500/- (where Rs. 500 was from husband’s savings and Rs. 1,000 as a loan from SHG). After she returned the first loan, she started taking small loans from SHG and every month returned the fixed installment with interest. The loan size grew slowly and so did her paying ability and confidence. Thus, she expanded her business slowly.

Today, the kirana shop is much more than a small store for groceries. you can find cosmetics and other fancy items also included. Sami Devi has also started selling vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant, cabbage, garlic, onion. She grows all the vegetables in her farm around her home. The idea of expanding her business grew with the exposure she got when she used to go to the nearby market of Khedbrahma and Udaipur with her husband to buy material for his Kirna shop. She earns gross receipts of Rs. 1,000/- daily.

She and her husband has a very good chemistry in their personal life and in their work. They work together in their farms, for buying stock for both their shops also support each other in their work. Her dedication and hard work made her financially strong and also improved the living standard of her family. She also managed to treat herself free from the tumor, and has  given birth to twins in 2009. The home is a happy one, with comforts such as electricity and a gas connection – signs of prosperity in the community. Now she is planning to buy a refrigerator next. Sami Devi now lives happily with her husband and 2 daughters.

When I asked do people still asked her husband to remarry to have a successor and what your husband says. she said “vo bolte hai jo kaam karne me maza tere sath ata hai to nai ayega kise aur ke sath.”

This story is my favorite, because in extreme rural tribal area where you find a lot of socially issues and then you find people are growing with their self motivation. After meeting them I was very inspired.

Bhumika Rawat

2016 fellow, placed with Seva Mandir in Kotra, Rajasthan as part of her fellowship. Working on strengthening of the women self help groups and resource centre for community empowerment.

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