On 26th August 2022 MCDF (Mukti Community Development Fund) project coordinator, Mr. Raghunath Bairagi visited Shipur, Egra in Purba Medinipur district to form new MCDF groups in that area. A meeting has been conducted by him where 150 interested underprivileged women attended the meeting with the hope to join the MCDF group and to be self–reliant.
Mr. Bairagi explains to them how a self-help group is formed, its purpose and activities, the loan structure of Mukti, how Mukti helps to get a loan from a bank, the Mukti training system, how women can get benefitted through MCDF, how to provide medical assistance to a sick family member and why MCDF differs from other self-help groups- these all are discussed in detail.
They are told that Mukti Community Development Fund members rely on the notion of “Self Help” to encourage self-employment and poverty alleviation.
Mukti creates SHG with 10 women. In terms of merit, one of them is elected as the leader of the group. A group is formed again with those leaders. This group of leaders acts as an organization – they work for education, health, women empowerment, prevention of trafficking and business development. Male members support them from behind. Mukti provides them nutritious food, makes them aware of menstrual and maternal health, skill development training, provisions loans for doing business at the end of the training, raises awareness about gender equality through training and so on.
Mukti encourages women to save. In addition to the savings, donations from the well-wishers are provided to the women to start a business for a year. No interest is charged from them. After one year the equivalent money is returned to that benefactor. For example, if a woman saves 1% of her earnings every month then in a year out of the total 12%, 4% is returned to women and the remaining 8% is deposited with the leader group. The purpose of Mukti is to make these groups self-sufficient so that they do not have to depend on Mukti. The work of Mukti is to provide them livelihood training, interest-free loan reimbursement, teach them how to make groups, to make them aware of their rights so that they can protest against child marriage, trafficking in women and gambling etc.
After the meeting, 90% of the participants enrolled their names in MCDF. Their account will be open in the coming week. They will be divided into small groups (10-12 members in each group). Very soon Mukti will start training programs for them.