Empowering rural women in Tamil Nadu

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Source: Seva-English      Date: 05 Feb 2013 17:54:39

$img_titleSewa Bharti Tamil Nadu needs to be congratulated for implementing innovative projects to uplift and empower the rural womenfolk through Self-Help Groups (SHGs). The SHGs started some 12 years ago by Sewa Bharti have now become prominent and premier agent of silent revolution empowering the rural women and improving their socio-economic-political status in the society.

Sewa Bharti has been working in this area since 1999 in this micro-credit delivery system and has attracted the attention of the entire nation. Initially the scheme was meant for women only but later on demand they ventured into the male bastion. Now there are 4000 women’s SHgs and 400 men’s SHGs throughout the state of Tamil Nadu.

SHG is a small cooperative unit having 20 or less number of people. They are organized in a group with a name. Three office-bearers manage the group; maintain the accounts and handle bank transactions. Each member of the group is required to save money on a regular basis and money so collected is advanced to needy members on a nominal interest. The entire transaction is transparent and properly audited. The interest earned on the amount of loans is very low and that helps the members of the group to get rid of high interest rates being charged by the moneylenders or the financial institutions. The members of the group are encouraged to start their own business or production units so that they can earn profits and improve their financial conditions.

Described as ‘the micro-credit delivery system’ in economic parlance, the SHG scheme is a system leading to best form od savings one could device. It is also the best loan facility one cold avail and the best way to improve the financial status of the members of deprived sections of the society. The interest members pay on their advances, form the profit which again is shared by them. In addition the SHGs empower rural women, enlighten them intellectually, and organize them to avail the advantages of functioning as a group. The SHGs have emerged as the best program to provide an effective exposure to the best of even an uneducated rural or vanvasi women.

Sewa Bharti set up such SHG at village Thirparappu in Tamil Nadu which have 20 members. Out of them majority 18 belonged to a particular caste while the remaining two come from a relatively lower caste. The majority women of the group were under pressure from their caste members to do away with those two members of the group who belonged to other caste. But the women refused bluntly and firmly. They were offered temptation by the caste association of the village by way of interest-free loan of Rs. one lakh for their group. But this also failed to lure the majority members in to their trap. The SHG members flatly turned down this offer and reiterated that they would not discriminate on the basis of caste amongst themselves. This trend is gaining momentum among the other SHGs in the state.

Sewa Bharti, Tamil Nadu
Registered Office
79, Alagappa Road, Purasawlkam,
Chennai- 60 00 84
Administrative Office
12, M V Naidu Street, Panchvati
Chetpet, Chennai-60 00 31
Phone- 044-28361049, 28360243
Fax- 044-28361887
Email- [email protected]