Bebe lives in Ambedkar Nagar Digha, with her husband and their children. She has been through unimaginable challenges as a mother, and the Women's Group she is part of has helped her at every step; brightening her life and supporting her to become a successful shop keeper.
There is a lot of crime in the Bebe's community, mostly from the land mafia. This group regularly pick up young boys in the area and force them to work, If anyone refuses then they are killed. Tragically, Bebe's 14 year old son was killed by these people when he refused to join them. To add to this tragedy Bebe's husband is a daily labourer and doesn't have a guaranteed income. She was working as a domestic helper in three houses struggling to provide for her remaining children.
Children on the Edge support a Learning Centre and a Women's Group in Bebe's community. Since becoming a member of the Women's Group, she has begun to change her life, find a new income source and gain recognition in her community. Through help and support of the other members she has been able to brighten her life and start thinking ahead for the future.
Bebe describes how, "One day I heard about the Women’s Group in my village and soon became a member. Through their training and support, I slowly started saving a small amount. It enabled me to think ahead about my future. After some time I took a small amount of loans and bought some essentials for my household. Then after paying back the loan, I took a bigger one and started a small grocery shop in my home. I left my domestic servant work and today with the income I get from the shop I have almost paid back the loan, I manage my home well and I’m also sending my children to school."
The group have supported her through a terrible time and helped her to gain confidence again. Bebe describes how "Starting the shop was a turning point in my life. It gave me self confidence and changed my thinking pattern. Today I have recognition in my community as a shopkeeper and I feel proud of myself. Joining the Women’s Group gave me the opportunity to brighten up my life."
Watch our video to see how the Women's Groups in India are empowering Dalit communities.