One of the poorest districts in Chhattisgarh, Surguja, has made it to the textbook of Chhattisgarh Education Board as a success story of women empowerment.
Between 2010 to 2012, more than 400 children died due to malnutrition. As reported by a national daily, last month, the administration identified over 400 children in the district who were in need of “assistance”.
But now the district has a different story to tell. The problem of malnutrition has been successfully checked in a tactful manner by the district by empowering the women.
As per the report, the women of the Oraon tribe, one of the poorest in Chhattisgarh, now run pig farms and brick kilns, work as masons, contractors and suppliers in various departments, run the Collectorate canteen and supervise its parking area, and also drive auto-rickshaws.
The women were encouraged to form a self help group (SHG) with government aid. They are given proper training as per their skills and preferences. Later, with the help of a loan, they begin their ventures, with the assurance that their products would be bought by government departments.
The District Collector, Ritu Sain, initiated a 15 month drive to ensure that every woman between the ages of 18 and 60 in the district and coming from a poor family would be a part of any of the various self help groups.
“A scheme targeting malnourishment based merely on supply of food or rations would work only for a limited period. Economic empowerment of women is the best way to tackle malnutrition,” says Sain, as reported by The Indian Express.
Another program initiated by the Collector involves charting the health parameters of women of the district.
Reportedly more than 50,000 women have undergone a detailed check-up, revealing 315 cases of suspected breast cancer, 9,166 of suspected cervical cancer, 3,027 cases of cataract and 2,522 of anemia.
Surguja now has around 12,000 SHGs, employing at least 1.25 lakh women out of the district’s 3.25 lakh.
In a country like India, especially in places like the rural areas of Chhattisgarh, women empowerment doesn’t come easy. This indeed has made the district of Surguja exemplary. It is high time women start to take matters in their own hands, because the empowerment of women will definitely aid the progress of the nation.