Guwahati: Self-Help Groups (SHGs) have emerged as a successful model for empowering disadvantaged groups in outskirt areas.
The women of Lukhura Khonia village in the Golaghat district have organized themselves to reap the benefits of mutual-aid groups.
Women SHGs in the area are producing a variety of products that were displayed on Monday at the stalls of the ‘Srishtishree Fair: 2023 – A Celebration of Women with Wings.’ This fair is a goodwill initiative of All & Sundry, a non-profit organization in Golaghat, and UTSAHAN Foundation in Guwahati, in collaboration with the Assam State Rural Livelihood Mission (ASRLM). The products showcased at the fair include organic vegetables, honey, ethnic eatables, handloom items, flower nurseries, and bamboo-craft items.
The Chief Guest at the event was Padma Shri Jadav Payeng, also known as the Forest Man of India. The Founder of the All & Sundry NGO, Sub Divisional Agricultural Officer Krishna Ranjan Saikia, District Nodal Officer of APART Project Golaghat Ranjan Baruah, Junior Inspector/Auditor: Assistant Registrar of Cooperative Societies Alakesh Chakraborty, Block Project Manager (Kakodonga Development Block) ASRLM Ruben Indwar, and Dy. PD ATMA Tapan Kr. Mahanta attended the program as Guests of Honour.
The mesmerizing event began with the state song ‘O Mur Apunar Dex’. Various programs related to women’s empowerment were presented during the event. Elderly citizens, who were also progressive farmers of Lukhura Khonia village, were felicitated with Gamocha and Cheleng Sadar by the All & Sundry NGO and UTSAHAN Foundation, Guwahati. The Chief Guest, Padma Shri Jadav Payeng, presented the awards.
The felicitation ceremony also included the gifting of religious books as a ‘Token of Love and Care.’ According to sources, the All & Sundry NGO of Golaghat, in collaboration with the UTSAHAN Foundation, Guwahati, launched the goodwill initiative titled ‘Srishtishree Fair: A Celebration of Women with Wings.’
During his inaugural address, Padma Shri Jadav Payeng highlighted the achievements of women in diverse fields of life. He emphasized the need for women empowerment, as it would provide them with economic independence and enable them to create a world of growth and economic opportunities for both men and women.
His Holiness Dr. Pitambar Deva Goswami, Satradhikar of Sri Sri Auniati Satra, also joined the event via teleconferencing mode. He appreciated the thoughtful initiative of the All & Sundry NGO and UTSAHAN Foundation.
He stated, “By strengthening women self-help groups, rural poverty can be eradicated easily, and the overall development of the village economy can be achieved. The SHG movement can also check migration from rural areas caused due to poverty and unemployment.”
Sub Divisional Agricultural Officer, Krishna Ranjan Saikia, gave an impressive talk on “How Women are doing the Heavy-Lifting in Agriculture.” The gathering was also made aware of the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi and Indian Post Payment Bank Account by the Assistant Chemist (AGMARK) cum District Nodal Officer of APART Project, Ranjan Baruah. Junior Inspector/Auditor: Assistant Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Alakesh Chakraborty, briefed the attendees on “The Role of Co-Operatives in Empowering Rural Women.” Additionally, Block Project Manager (Kakodonga Development Block) ASRLM, Ruben Indwar, delivered a talk on the topic of “Empowerment of Women through Self-Help Groups.”
After the interactive session, Padma Shri Jadav Payeng, dignitaries, and invitees visited stalls put up by the women members of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) of Kakodonga’s Lukhura Khonia village and interacted with them. Padma Shri Jadav Payeng listened to the stories of struggle of many of these unsung heroes.
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During the visit to the stalls, women spoke about how they felt more independent after joining these self-help groups and how they were able to reach a wider market through government schemes. For some of the women, these businesses have become their primary source of income, as they have become the sole breadwinners for their families.
Later, The Forest Man of India planted a tree sapling in the presence of other dignitaries, invitees, representatives of Lukhura Khond Samaj Kalyan Sangha, and locals of the Kakodonga region to mark the occasion of ‘Srishtishree Fair: 2023 – A Celebration of Women with Wings.’ Around 500 people witnessed the 4-hour event, according to a press release.
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