Gulshan Rahi daughter of Zer Mohammad, from village Peer Pokhar, Block Pothia started as a student at the AIF learning center and added up being a teacher and confident young woman. She was a school drop out and used to work in the fields along with her parents. Her father couldn’t afford to send her to school due to poverty. AIF set up a learning center in her village in 2004.The team members were doing door to door survey to identify the out of school girls and met her parents to convince them to allow her to study at the center in the afternoon. After much convincing, her parents agreed and Gulshan started attending the center regularly. The team members got her enrolled at primary school at village Puranderpur.She started studying both at the center and the school besides doing household work. The remedial classes helped her cope with the studies and soon she took admission to class VIII at middle school, village Kaliyaganj.But as the school was far from her village, the parents were reluctant to send her there citing poverty and money issues. Seeing her commitment and hard work, AIF trained her as peer educator in Adolescent Health program and gave her stipend to support her education. Through her sheer hard work and determination she completed high school and graduation. Gulshan is working with AIF for last three years as project teacher and supports her family.
Name of the village – Village Malbasti
Block - Pothia
Azad India Foundation gave away sewing machine to Sami Naaz from the village Malbasti, Block Pothia under Livelihood support program. Her village has seen massive damages during floods in Kishanganj. She has three brothers and three sisters so the living standard had really suffered post floods. As Sami had done stitching course she contacted tailoring shops in the market and started getting work besides stitching clothes within the village. She is earning around Rs 3000-4000 per month now
Name of the village – Village Azam Nagar
Block - Pothia
Abeda Begum is from Shershahi badi community from the village Aazam Nagar.She received sewing machine from Save The Children under livelihood program when her home was damaged in the floods. She is earning Rs 500-1000 per month even when her village is in the interior of Pothia block. She gets stitching work from her own village and nearby villages as well.
Name of the village – Village Koltha
Block - Pothia
Razia Khatoon daughter of Abul Kalam, stays with her parents at village Koltha, one of the worst floods affected villages in Pothia block. The floods had led to the hardship for the family, as her father was unable to find work in the village. As Razia knew tailoring, Azad India Foundation gave sewing machine to her under Livelihood support program from Save The Children. She started stitching clothes within and around the village. Now Razia is earning around Rs 2000 -3000 per month supporting her family. Her only regret is that she is unable to save currently.
Name of the village – Village Sathbolia
Block – Pothia
Pinky daughter of Md. Islamuddin is from village Sathbolia. She has one-brother and fours sisters belonging to marginalized community. Her village was flood affected being on the banks of river Mahananda. She was given sewing machine under livelihood support program from Save The Children. She gets work not only from her own village but also from the tailors from the nearby Chattargach market. She is earning almost Rs 4000-5000 per month out of which she saves Rs 2000
Azad India Foundation gave away sewing machine to Gulnaaz Begum from the village Malbasti, Block Pothia under Livelihood support program. Her village has seen massive damages during floods in Kishanganj. As Gulnaaz had done stitching course she contacted tailoring shops in the market and started getting work besides stitching clothes within the village. She has shown entrepreneurial skills by buying fabrics in bulk from the Kishanganj market. She sells the cloth and offers tailoring to the women in her village. She is earning around Rs 10,000-12,000 per month now. She is saving almost Rs 8000 per month. She says, “I am happy to earn and contribute to my father’s income. The sewing machine is proving a boon for me as it is helping me to achieve economic independence.” She is a role model to her community.
Name of the village: Bogladangi
Panchayat – Damalbari
Block - Pothia
Akhtari Begum is from village Bogladangi, Panchayat Damalbari. She and her husband Naushad used to work as labor in the fields before the flood. They were not getting regular work post floods in the village. As per part of livelihood support, she was given grocery items to start the shop the village. She and her husband Naushad take turns to look after the shop and now are earning between Rs 3000-4000 per month. Their financial condition has improved now. They are able to spend money on the children’s education etc.
Name of the village: Jalmilik
Block - Thakurganj
Ghulam Rabbani is from village Jalmilik. He was working as a landless labor and earning very little. He had lost his savings in last year’s floods that devastated major parts of Kishanganj district. He and his wife Shamshira was passing through very difficult time financially. They were unable to look after their two children. He was selected for livelihood support for grocery shop. He is making Rs 150-200 per day and reinvesting the money back in his shop. His financial situation has improved considerably.
Sabir and Afaque are masons from village Lohadanga which suffered damages in last year's flood at Kishanganj.They had lost their tools and were in financial distress.AIF gave them mason kits with the support from Save the Children India to again start their work.Sabir and Afaque have taken contract work together in the Mukhya Mantri Gali Nali program and their earnings have improved considerably.
Name: Bulbuli Kumari
Age: 13 years
Enrolment No: 030380701A00661
Position before joining OBE programme: Bulbuli was a school drop-out
Bulbuli is currently studying in class-VIII at Teosa Middle School.Her father Munna Chauhan is a daily wage earner with monthly income of around Rs 2000.She has 2 brothers and 1 sister.She had dropped out of school due to financial difficulties.
Azad India Foundation had started project â€“An integrated Approach to Women empowerment where a non formal centre was established in the village Teosa.Bulbuli joined the non-formal centre where she studied for 5 hours daily .Seeing her dedication and commitment, the centre teacher gave her coaching even after the classes were over.Bulbuli is a brilliant student who was given admission in the higher class -6 after clearing merit test. Now she is in class- 8th and is a role model for her community members. Her parents are proud of her and no longer stop her from studying.
Name : Manju Kumari
Age : 11 years
Enrolment No: 030380701A00664
Position before joining OBE programme: Manju had not gone to any school previously
OBE Level attained (ABC levels): A
Suman is currently studying in class-VI at Teosa Middle School. Her father Dhilip Chauhan is a daily wage earner with monthly income of around Rs 2000.She has 2 brothers and 1 sister. She had not undergone any schooling previously.Azad India Foundation had started project â€“An integrated Approach to Women empowerment where a non formal centre was established in the village Teosa.Suman joined the non-formal centre for Class -III .She cleared the NIOS Level A after sheer hard work as she was helping her parents and looking after her siblings. She gave merit test at Middle school.Suman is a very hard working girl.Inspite of poor family background she is continuing with her education. She is determined to complete at least class-X .She motivates other girls in her village to study.
Name: Suman Kumari
Age: 15 years
Enrolment No: 0303801701A00658
Position before joining OBE programme: Suman was out of school girl.
OBE Level attained (ABC levels): A
Manju is currently studying in class-IV at Teosa Middle School. Her father Munna Chauhan is a daily wage earner with monthly income of around Rs 2000.She has 2 brothers and 1 sister. She was not going to any school previously.Azad India Foundation had started project â€“An integrated Approach to Women empowerment where a non formal centre was established in the village Teosa.Manju joined the non-formal centre along with her sister Bulbuli.She cleared Level A of NIOS and currently studying in class IV in a regular govt school.She is very hard-working and fond of reading. She loves going to school every day.
Md. Nazir, age-30 used to ply cycle rickshaw on rent where the owner of the rickshaw used to take half of his earnings. The life was very difficult with three small children and a wife to support. He approached Azad India Foundation for interest free loan to buy rickshaw of his own. After getting information about his background AIF extended him loan of Rs 3000.
"I bought second hand rickshaw with the money given by Azad India Foundation. They did not charge any interest .I have repaid the loan. Now I earn Rs.60-70 per day sometimes even more. Life has become little easy now. I have put my daughter in the Government school as now I realize that education is very important in today's world. I am determined to educate all my three children."
Quasari Begum, age 25 years learnt tailoring from her brothers. Azad India Foundation gave her sewing machine on loan.
"I have taken sewing machine on loan from Azad India Foundation. I learnt tailoring and stitching from my brothers. I used to do small jobs like button stitching etc for them earlier for which I used to get Rs5-10.My husband was the sole earner with five mouths to feed. We had a very difficult life. Now with machine I take work from the shopkeepers like stitching of pillow covers etc. Now I earn between Rs 30-35 per day."
Md.Farooq, age-39 years is a tailor. He has got a small shop at Line Mohalla .He was given interest free loan of Rs.2000 for buying sewing machines and other accessories.
" I approached Azad India Foundation for a loan to buy new sewing machines. Now I get more work as I have more machines. I have been able to employ one more helper. I have now started repaying the loan."
Rani age 17 years learnt cutting and tailoring at Rasulganj stitching center run by Azad India Foundation. After successful completion of the course she was given certificate. She is proficient in ladies clothes such as salwar suit, frocks and skirts etc.
" I joined Rasulganj stitching center one and half years back. Now I am proficient in ladies clothes. I am getting small works from the local shopkeepers. I want to become self-independent as I belong to very poor family. My father died when I was very young.
Rafique Alam is a boatman at Pabna Ghat .He was an unemployed youth with a huge family to support. After Azad India Foundation gave boat at Pabna Ghat he has found employment. He now earns Rs.100 per day ferrying people across the river.
Sushila Selp-Help Group was formed in village Faringola under Project Pahla Kadam (ADB small grant program).There are 12 members in the group who contribute Rs 30 per month.
Azad India Foundation organized training in detergent and agarbatti (incense) stick making from Khadi Gram Commission for the group members. The group members then decided to start agarbatti making on small scale. They pooled their resources and bought raw material from Kishanganj and Siliguri.
After the incense sticks were ready the main problem was of marketing. The president of the Group Sushila along with her daughter Kalyani started selling to the paan shops, house to house within the village and extended family. They earned profit of Rs 100 which gave them hope and strength for the future.
Again they bought raw material and devised new strategy. Now they do two type of packeting -one rupee and 10 rupees. One rupee packets are sold within the village and ten rupee packets are given to small shops outside the village etc.
They also have started giving money on interest to women within the group and village also. Earlier it was Rs 2 per month now they have raised it to Rs 10 per month within the group and Rs 15 for the women other then group.
This is only a small beginning of empowerment for these women of village Faringola, Kishanganj, Bihar
Maa Saraswati Self-Help Group is formed by men of village Faringola.When women of the village were organized under SHG and took training from Khadi Gram Commission under Azad India Foundation, men of the village were also inspired and decided to open their own group. Fifteen men came together and formed a group with monthly contribution of Rs 150.
They are pooling the money to do trading and small scale business .They are also using money to help needy people. Recently they helped father of young girl in organizing marriage.
The group members are also convincing other men and women in the village to start self-help groups to better their life. Now they want to buy tractor and have raised the monthly contribution.
They have also shown interest in getting training from Khadi Gram Commission.