60 years Shahjahan hails from a small village in Uttar Pradesh. She was born to a very poor family and her father married her off in 1975 when she was just 15 years old. After marriage, Shahjahan shifted to her husband’ s little shanty in the Mayapuri slum community. Abdul Wahid, Shahjahan’s husband was a factory worker and earned hardly INR 150 ($2/ £2) per month.
Within 10 years, Shahjahan was blessed with 6 boys and 2 girls. Having a big family, Shahjahan and Abdul found it very difficult to feed the children and run a house smoothly.
One day, Shahjahan remembers in the year 1998, a young lady in crisp cotton saree knocked the broken door of her shanty and introduced herself as Thressi. Thressi told Shahjahan about Asha and encouraged her to join the women group. Shahjahan was very reluctant at first as she found it to be a waste of time, but later she found that women in her neighbourhood had started attending the meeting very regularly. She decided to give it a try and came to attend a weekly meeting. From that day to date Shahjahan has not missed a single meeting of women’s group.
Shahjahan came to know about the Asha’s Financial Inclusion program and convinced Abdul to start a small grocery shop in front of her shanty with a bank loan. Shahjahan first applied and got a loan of INR 5000 (£55/ $70) and after repaying the loan, took another loan of INR 10,000 ($140/ £110) and later a loan of INR 20,000 (£220/ $280). The family’s income doubled and the needs of the family were met adequately.
At present, Shahjahan runs the grocery store with the help of her son. Her Husband, unfortunately, died 5 years ago. Now Shahjahan has advised all young women to become educated and independent so that they can face any harsh realities of life.