Women across 13,500 self-help groups earn Rs.450Cr

ANI | Updated: Mar 09, 2018 14:41 IST

New Delhi [India], Mar. 9 (ANI): Srinivasan Services Trust (SST), the social arm of TVS Motor Company revealed during the current financial year, women from as many as 13,500 self-help groups (SHGs) have earned more than Rs. 450 crores, due to the collective work of 184,000 women.

For more than 20 years now, SST has worked in thousands of villages in India to help women make the shift from being just homemakers to breadwinners. SST's focus on helping women use their skills to earn has vastly boosted income in India's rural communities.

SST does this through SHGs, where women team up as a collective and become entrepreneurs. Together, they access more credit, meet their loan repayments and get better prices for the goods they make.

"Women have shown great resilience, commitment, tenacity and willingness to adapt throughout history. At the villages where SST works, we find they are the true change agents who want better lives for their families and communities. Empowering women is the bedrock of the community work we do because it leads to lasting and meaningful change," said SST's Managing Trustee, Venu Srinivasan.

The additional income, SST said, has helped them send their children to better schools, vested them with dignity at home and enabled them to put more food on the table. In many cases, it has reduced domestic violence because of increased financial independence and the support of fellow women entrepreneurs. Many of the women in the SHG, who had never been to a school or had formal learning, are now functionally literate because they have schooled themselves through adult learning centres.

The women in the villages where SST is active, earn anything from Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 6,000 a month. As a result of their increased confidence, women have taken the lead in helping implement various programs, ranging from garbage segregation and collection, to sending children to anganwaadis where they eat more nutritious food and learn about hygiene.

SST's model of self-empowerment which involves giving women the tools and the means to lead better lives has yielded rich results all around. These programs also tie in well with the government's initiative of encouraging the girl child and educating her. At government schools in SST-assisted villages, the attendance is typically at 100 percent. Almost all 107,000 girls of school-going age, are at school in the villages with SST's presence.

As part of the health drive, SST helps bring government resources to the villages. That's helped bring the maternal mortality rate down to 9.6 per 100,000 births in villages where we offer support. More than 555,000 women have recovered from anaemia, which can be crippling and often goes undetected. The deficiency is spotted through regular health camps in the villages, and SST's social workers teach them ways to improve the iron deficiency by growing iron-rich vegetables in their kitchen gardens and using it in their diets. (ANI)