From The Hindu:
IN the tribal belt of Orissa, in the infamous Kalahandi district, there is a village, Dasi, where the people live in extreme poverty and deprivation. Hunger and malnutrition are a way of life here, and the future seems bleak. In such conditions, in 2000, the Ma Thakurani Self Help Group was formed by Parivartan, a development organisation working with the poor in Kalahandi for more than a decade. The purpose was to bring poor women together; and to practise credit and thrift activities. In the village lies a bhatti, a parlour for illicit liquor consumption where many men-folk consume alchohol, get drunk, become violent and create havoc.
The Ma Thakurani Self Help Group consists of 13 women. Together, they save, borrow, meet and discuss issues. Together, they make a difference in each other’s lives. One day, after their monthly SHG meeting, the members of the Ma Thakurani SHG group passed by the bhatti. The men as usual were inebriated; they foul mouthed the women, and accused the SHG of ruining the village. The women had already had enough. For 15 years, they had borne the brunt of the drunken men and the bhatti. They decided to do something about this situation in the village; they decided to take charge. They called a Village Committee meeting and expressed that something needed to be done about the bhatti; it had to be shut. They received a lot of support from other villagers, and under pressure, the bhatti owner, committed that he will shut the liquor shop.
The members accepted the challenge, much to the ward official’s surprise and everyone else’s too.