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When Poverty Is Not Just about Money

“It’s a blessing for poor people like us to have you in our house”, said Savita, our Gelathi in Urukere village, to our team who visited her house. Our team wondered what Savita meant when she referred to herself as poor – she lives in a well-furnished two-storey house. She is definitely not poor, we thought. Savita had some learning to give us.

Savita got married at a very young age. She had to discontinue her education, become a full-time homemaker. By the age of 22, she was a mother of two girls. Savita tied her life within the walls of her house and its chores. She didn’t complain. Rather, she didn’t know there was anything to complain about. But there was an awakening that was waiting to happen and this took place when she came for the Buzz training.

As she attended the training, Savita sensed a change in the very core of her very self. She started feeling that she was not giving a chance to herself to live a fulfilling life. She limited her world to her house. The training helped Savita break many levels of shackles for Savita.

As a first step, Savita volunteered to become a Buzz Gelathi. A Buzz Gelathi is a Buzz trained woman whom we groom to become a community leader. The Gelathi dons the role of a friend and a guide for other trained women and leads them through their process of behavioural change. Savita became a perfect fit for the role. She just began her journey of self-exploration and she was eager to make change happen in her life.

From being a who never stepped out of her house, she is now a leader who interacts with many women like her. She started listening to their stories and helped them change their lives. She joined a self-help group and actively participated in its endeavours. Her house started bustling with activities. An excellent chef at home, she decided to explore the possibility of starting a catering business. Starting with small orders, she’s now become a busy caterer in the village.

She held the hands of our teammates and said, “None of this would have been possible without you.” We couldn’t be more touched. And, we now understood what Savita meant when she called herself poor. It was not money that Savita was talking about when she called herself poor. She was living an unfulfilled life that limited herself and shrouded her abilities. But not anymore. Savita is a changed woman today – she is always brimming with energy and has made her near and dear proud of how she has turned her life around.

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