Phoolbasan Yadav from the remote Sukaldaihan village in the Rajnandgaon district in Chhattisgarh shot to fame for her untiring effort in empowering the women of her village. "Since my childhood, I had experienced extreme poverty and hunger, and I feel that similar is the plight of lakhs of women in the country. I want to help them,” says Yadav.
She, along with 11 other women of her village, formed a self-help group and started collecting Rs two per week from its members to provide small financial assistance to its members. The objective of establishing the SHG was to improve the state of education, health, sanitation and livelihood opportunities for women. They also formed Maabamleshwari Janhitkari Samiti (MJS), an NGO with more than two lakh members which supports 19,000 women self-help groups (WSHG) in different women development activities. This NGO, through various beneficial schemes of the government, has ensured women their economic progress.
“Under the effective leadership of Phoolbasan Yadav, we have been running the organisation and moving ahead in life. I thank her for her tireless efforts and helping me become a tribal woman sarpanch,” says Asha Mandavi, sarpanch of Kasari village in Rajnandgaon district.
In 2012, Phoolbasan Yadav received Padmashree, the fourth highest civilian award in India. She also won many other prestigious awards like the Chhattisgarh Minimata Alankaran award in 2004 for her efforts towards women empowerment.
The film, “Where the mind is without fear” provides a glimpse of her journey towards empowering women.