This skit is written to be used as “readers theater” — there is no rehearsing or even reading through the play in advance. There is also no performance for anyone other than the participants. The idea is for participants to learn about the characters by being them, not to have a polished performance. The play could be used with children or youth groups, or it could even be used with adults as part of a presentation on the work of Right Sharing.
The teacher or facilitator should have all of the props available in advance and it would be useful to designate a “stage” area. Also, when doing this with a group of children, it is often enjoyable for them to choose “costumes” for themselves. In this case, the teacher could have a selection of colorful clothing, or even just large pieces of cloth, that the children could use as costumes. If you are using costumes, some time needs to be planned into the process for the choosing of costumes.
To do the skit, the group can just divide up the parts and read through the play. There should be no sense of needing to do it perfectly. If someone makes a mistake, just let them correct it and go on with the rest of the play.
Right Sharing Grants Make a Difference in India!
A play that shows what happens to our money once we send it to our partners in India.
Props: 2 chairs, a stuffed animal cow, a bouquet of flowers, a basket with something that looks like bread or cake in it, a basket with teacups in it, a large folded square of silky cloth.
Mrs. Anjala and Mrs. Kumar enter the stage talking together.
Mrs. Anjala: My husband came home last night!
Mrs. Kumar: You must have been so happy to see him!
Mrs. Anjala: Yes, he has been gone for 3 months. I am glad he was able to get work in the city, but it is hard to stay at home without him. We were almost out of rice, but he brought us a big bag, so we will have full bellies tonight for a change.
Mrs. Kumar: I am glad for you!
Mrs. Anjala: But he brought more than rice! He brought news of something that is happening in the next village. He thinks we should try to do it here too.
Mrs. Kumar: What?
Mrs. Anjala: There is a group working there. It is called Women’s Development something . . . I forget the name. Anyway, their purpose is to help women take care of themselves. They are forming the women into groups that they call self-help groups. They teach the women how to get government help and how to manage finances. They have a saving scheme so that we won’t have to be so dependent on those horrible money lenders. And, it is rumored that they may even be able to get money from somewhere overseas, maybe the USA, and then they will loan it to some women to begin their own businesses.
Mrs. Kumar: But that is not right. Women should not do things like handle money or run a business. It is the job of the men to take care of the women.
Mrs. Anjala: Ha! How can my husband really take care of me or our family when he is gone for months at a time and I never know when or if he will return, or if he will bring any money or food with him? I love my husband and I know he tries, but I really believe we women must learn to take care of ourselves.
Mrs. Kumar: Well, maybe you are right. I know my husband is sick right now and it is hard for him to work so much. And poor Mrs. Umaskiri doesn’t even have her husband since he died last year.
Mrs. Anjala: Yes, and Mrs. Krishnan and Mrs. Lakshmi both are in the same situation I am – with our husbands gone for long periods of time searching for work.
Mrs. Kumar: All right – you’ve convinced me! How do we get those Women’s Development people to come here and help us set up one of these women’s self help groups?
Mrs. Anjala: I will ask my husband to talk to them when he goes back to the city. Alas, he has to go away again tomorrow because he doesn’t want to miss out on some work at a new construction site in the city.
The two women go offstage.
Mrs. Kumar, Mrs. Krishna, Mrs. Umaskiri, and Mrs. Lakshmi come in together and sit down on the floor. Mrs. Anjala and Mr. Chandra also come in and stand before the group.
Mrs. Anjala: Hello everyone, thank you for coming. This is Mr. Chandra. He works for an organization called Rural Women’s Development Trust. His organization has started two women’s self help groups in the next village and he wants to tell us how to start one here too. Mrs. Anjala sits down in one of the chairs.
Mr. Chandra: Greetings! I want to talk to you about an exciting opportunity. Our group is starting women’s self help groups in several villages in this area. We want to apply for a grant from an organization in the United States to help the women begin their own businesses. We would teach you how to run your business and manage your finances. It would greatly increase your income. You could make as much as $5 every day.
Mrs. Kumar: $5 every day?! Surely that is impossible. My husband and I do not even make $1 a day now.
Mr. Chandra: Yes, $5 per day IS possible – or even more.
Mrs. Lakshmi: But what would WE do for a business. We are just poor women. We don’t know how to do anything!
Mrs. Umaskiri: And we would need start-up supplies for a business. You know I make a small amount of money doing hand-sewing. Now that my husband is dead, it is my only income. I have always dreamed of buying a sewing machine and making beautiful saris. But it is only a dream because a sewing machine costs more than $200. I will never have that much money in my life!
Mr. Chandra: Yes! Tailoring is a perfect business! This organization in the United States will give us a grant and then we can loan you $250 to buy the sewing machine and material to begin making the saris. You will pay back the loan a little bit each month from your increased income. In a year you will own the sewing machine outright.
Mrs. Krishna: Uh oh. Loan! I don’t like the sound of that word. I took a loan from the money-lenders last year to pay for my son’s doctor bills. I had to pay back double what I borrowed and they hounded and harassed me every day until it was paid back. I am never going to take a loan again if I can help it!
Mr. Chandra: We are not money-lenders. We only charge 1% interest per month and the only reason we charge that amount is so that we can pay our administrative expenses. If you took a $250 loan, you would only have to pay back $280 in a year. That is just $23 per month.
Mrs. Krishna: Hmmmm. Well, that isn’t so bad!
Mrs. Umaskiri: Wow. This is amazing! If I had a sewing machine and $50 worth of material, I could make 5 saris in a month. And I could sell each sari for about $30. So that means, I would make $150 per month. And even after I paid the loan payment and bought more material, I would still have $77 left over at the end of the month. That is triple what I make now!
Mrs. Anjala: Mrs. Umaskiri – I never knew you were so good with figures! We will put you in charge of the bookkeeping!
Mrs. Lakshmi: Yes, but what would the rest of us do? I am not good at sewing!
Mr. Chandra: Your group would need to think of businesses you could do that have a market in this area. Our NGO would provide training.
Mrs. Krishna: I know what you could do, Mrs. Lakshmi: You make the best Idly Breakfast Cakes of anyone I know. When they are getting on the bus to go to the city, all of the other husbands are looking at your husband’s breakfast enviously. You could make a batch of breakfast cakes every morning and sell them at the bus station. And that gives me an idea. I could set up a tea stall next to you and sell tea to go with your breakfast cakes!
Mrs. Kumar: I love to grow flowers, and my husband and I have almost 2 acres of land where we have grown nothing this year since my husband has been so sick. Do you think I could grow flowers and sell them for parties and festivals? You know how we Indians LOVE to have fresh flowers for every festive occasion!
Mr. Chandra: These are all very good ideas. Let me write up the business plan for each business and apply for a grant from the organization in the USA. In the meantime, my staff will meet with you all once a month and we will help you begin saving money and train you in business management skills.
Everyone goes offstage.
Everyone comes onstage. Mr. Chandra and Mrs. Anjala sit in the two chairs. Everyone else sits on the floor. Mr. Chandra stands up and addresses those seated on the floor.
Mr. Chandra: I have good news for you. We have received a grant from an organization in the United States called Right Sharing of World Resources. They have given us enough money for 20 women to receive loans of $250 each to begin their businesses. Our NGO sponsors 10 women’s self help groups in this area, so that means 2 women from each group will get loans in the initial round. Now, you need to choose who will get the initial 2 loans in your group.
Mrs. Lakshmi: Only 2 people??? But there are 5 of us here and many more who want to join the group. What will the rest of us do?
Mr. Chandra: Don’t worry, you will eventually get loans too. When the first two people pay back their loans, then the repaid money will be loaned to someone else until everyone has received a loan. Actually, since there are 2 people who will be making repayments each month, there will be enough in the treasury in only 6 months so that another person can get a loan. Within a year, all 5 of you should have your loan.
Mrs. Krishna: Who is the treasurer? I hope they don’t run off with the money!
Mr. Chandra: Someone in your own group will be the treasurer. Your group will manage your own funds and you will also decide who gets each new loan.
Mrs. Krishna: Oh, well that’s okay then. I guess I trust everyone in this group.
Mrs. Anjala: I suggest that we give Mrs. Umaskiri and Mrs. Kumar the first two loans. Mrs. Umaskiri’s husband is dead and Mrs. Kumar’s is very sick, so they need to start their businesses soon to be able to keep their families going.
Mrs. Krishna: That is a good plan.
Mrs. Lakshmi: I approve.
Mrs. Anjala: Then, it is agreed. Mrs. Umaskiri will have the first loan to start her tailoring business and Mrs. Kumar will have the second to start her floriculture business.
Everyone goes offstage.
All the women meet in the village square. Mrs. Kumar has a bouquet of flowers. Mrs. Anjala is leading a cow. Mrs. Lakshmi has a basket of cakes, Mrs. Krishna has a basket of tea cups, and Mrs. Umaskiri has a sari folded over her arm.
Mrs. Anjala: Hello everyone! I’m so glad I met you! I just got back from buying my cow with my loan from Right Sharing of World Resources. Isn’t she beautiful!? I will be selling fresh milk very soon! How are you all doing?
Mrs. Kumar: I am doing well, but I can’t stay long to chat. I am in charge of the flowers for the Jayamara’s daughter’s wedding and I have to make up 30 bouquets this afternoon.
Mrs. Umaskiri: I too must run – I am just taking this wedding sari for a last fitting for Mrs. Jayamara’s daughter.
Mrs. Krishna: I am doing very well. Mrs. Lakshmi and I have just returned from seeing the morning bus off. Now we must go home and make more tea and cakes in time for the afternoon bus. Those men are even hungrier and thistier in the evening than in the morning!
Mrs. Lakshmi: Yes, I am thinking of introducing a chicken pie for the evening crowd. I think it will go over well.
Everyone to everyone else: Goodbye – see you at the self help group meeting on Thursday! Okay, see you!, etc. etc.
Everyone goes offstage.