By Nooreen, Assistant Director of SHARE:
I met with the global dialogue leaders this week. This season, the global dialogue leaders have been talking about how inflation has impacted their lives. This year’s national budget did not bring good news for anyone. A daily food requirement in most Indian households is dal (lentils) which cost Rs 60/- per kilogram a few months ago. It now costs Rs. 100/- per kilogram.
“Everything has become expensive, onions, potatoes and other vegetables….. These days I use one onion instead of two and add more water to increase the volume,” Said Nitu of Sahara Cooperative.
While the price of everything has gone up, the artisans’ income has not increased proportionately. Women shared that their budgets have become tighter. Rekha of Ware confided, “Earlier we were able to manage our expenses and save some money every year. We looked forward to Diwali, because it was an opportunity to buy gold jewelry for ourselves, but now it has become impossible to save money. I have even had to take out a loan. I am constantly worried about how we will repay it and make ends meet.”
In addition to dealing with increased household expenses, the artisans are worried about the educational expenses of their children. “Education and associated expenses like uniforms and books have gone up and I am always trying to find ways in which I can cut costs at home to be able to save money to pay for my child’s school fees,” said Suhasini Pushpanjali.
At the meeting the artisans broke up into three groups and talked in further detail about how inflation has changed their lives.
- “Earlier we enjoyed having guests over, but now it becomes a cause of worry as it increases our expenses. When our relatives from the village come to visit, we keep waiting for them to leave,” confided Nanda of Arpan.
- “I have stopped buying new clothes because I have to sacrifice my wants and focus only on what my family really needs,” explained Nitu of Sahara.
- “Increase in school fees has affected our children’s education. I don’t want my child to drop out of school, so I will have to find a way to get the money,” declared Suhasini of Pushpanjali.
- “Earlier we used to buy groceries once a month, but now we buy on a daily basis. It is difficult to spend much at one time,” explained Fatima of Ghar Udyog.
The artisans have decided to work on finding a solution to this problem shared by all. One possibility may be to leverage collective purchasing to reduce prices. They will be visiting a store in their neighborhood that sells daily grocery items at reduced rates. The next global dialogue meeting is on 17th November 2009 and the artisans will come with information about new options for saving money when buying food items. Buying collectively, buying vegetables and fruits that are in season, and sharing tips that will reduce use of expensive ingredients, like oil, will all help to bring down costs and strengthen the bonds between the women.
From the 10/12 Global Dialogue Leaders Meeting
Venue: Hanuman Tekadi, Time: 4.00 pm to 5.30 pm
Attended by: Rekha, Vimla, Amravati, Nanda, Sushila, Nanda V, Suhasini, Fatima, Shenaaz, Nitu and Shabnam
SHARE staff: Nooreen and Prajakta