35 million people in Tamil Nadu live on around £1 a day

Sri Selvam is a SCAD animator

Sri Selvam’s story

As part of our community empowerment programme, we employ animators who work with the 2,000 women’s self help groups in our local districts.

Sri Selvam is one such animator who took up on the role after seeing the impact of the women’s self help groups first hand as she lives in the village in which she works.

The self help groups are democratically-run by village volunteers, and supported by our team of animators, who regularly visit the groups to share knowledge and training on a range of different activities from health to education.

Sri explained: “Before I joined the group, women like me were trapped inside the home but now we come out and work among the people. The main objective of our women’s self help project is to bring women out of their home, and to help them to become more self-sufficient by doing this.”

Women’s self-help groups share and solve problems together

By joining together as a group, the women immediately start to share problems.

One of the first tasks in every new self-help group is the setting up of a microfinance scheme to enable women to start saving and borrowing from each other rather than relying on expensive money lenders.

Sri added: “We are also helping women to create a business and earn money to improve their financial circumstances.”

Work-based schemes include sari weaving, ready-made clothing and shoe making.

Sharing and volunteering strengthens the whole community

The groups co-ordinate many community based programmes such as healthcare to education. Volunteers are recruited to share information to other members of the community and to find people willing to take on various projects. This is how the groups start to involve and empower the whole community.

Sri added: “Now after joining SCAD we are able to make some money, and we are able to support our children’s education. Serving the people through my work gives me more mental satisfaction.”

There’s now 2,000 women’s self help groups involving 50,000 women

Read more about them here or watch a film about the groups.