PUNE: Nileema Mishra, founder of Bhagini Nivedita Gramin Vigyan Niketan and Ramon Magsaysay awardee delivered a speech about ‘Scaling up Social Enterprise’ recently at the Bodhi Tree in Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, as part of a lecture series organised by Pune International Centre’s Social Innovation Forum.
Also present were Prakash Apte, head of Syngeta India, who chaired the session, Pradeep Lokhande, founder of Gyan Key Library, who acted as moderator and Prashant Girbane, Honorary Director, PIC.
Speaking about the Self Help Groups (SGH), Mishra said, “We don’t give the women any money, we ask them what they can do and what they need to do. They were the ones who suggested sewing quilts and clothes and asked for computer and embroidery classes. They want to learn more, they want to grow.”
As far as the plight of farmers is concerned, Mishra believes that there is no immediate solution.
“The public thinks that farmers have received a benefit, so the problem is resolved. But if one need is fulfilled, hundreds spring up. Loans should be given taking into the account the particular needs and abilities of each farmer. When it doesn’t rain for one year, a farmer is set back 3 years.”
AN AGENT OF CHANGE
- Neelima Mishra set up the Bhagini Nivedita Gramin Vigyan Niketan Trust in 2005 in her home village of Bahadarpur in Jalgaon. Over the years, her trust has helped set up many women’s SHGs and provided aid to farmers.
- The SHG she set up gets orders for quilts made by the women from Australia, England and USA. Around 100 women became computer literate. And they have a successful textile business, making around 6,000 kurtas per month, all from scrap material.