Woman of Substance
BARMER: 25-year-old Lakshmi Devi is an artisan from Sanwada village, 35 km. away from Barmer, Rajasthan. She lives with her husband and two children. Lakshmi Devi was part of a skill upgradation course held in the month of December. She has been trained in art forms like Applique, Tagaai, Mirror work, Phude and Bel. Lakshmi Devi’s family has been doing this craft for generations, but barely made any money out of it. After receiving training, she has learnt new ways of doing this craft and has better knowledge of designs and an enhanced understanding of market demands. She now works with a group of women and believes that work gets done faster in a group. The end product also turns out to be better than the one produced individually. In the past Lakshmi Devi used to earn Rs. 200, but after receiving training by a centre supported by Concern India Foundation, she earns at least Rs.1800/- per month from this craft. She has opened her own savings account in a bank and is saving regularly towards her future. She plans to use the surplus income towards better health care and education for her children.
Winning Over Disability
NOIDA: Rupa suffers from visual, auditory and speech impairment and also hails from a poor socio-economic background. She was admitted to a Concern India supported programme at the age of 7. At the time of admission she was suffering from profound hearing loss with lack of meaningful speech. Despite being detected with low vision, she was able to write in print. Nonetheless she was taught sign language so that she could communicate. Her vision further deteriorated as time passed. A medical check-up confirmed retinal detachment, which progressively leads to a complete loss of vision. She now fell in the deaf-blind category with speech impairment and her rehabilitation needed a different approach. Rupa was taught ‘touch sign language’. She was also taught Braille and was able to write the name of the object after touching and knowing the spelling through touch sign language in Braille. Rupa is a very high spirited child and has picked up the skills of sign language very well and is able to use it as a medium of communication. She is also learning to type on the computer keyboard so that she can make use of advanced technological devices like the Braille display received under Concern India Foundation’s support.
Successful Venture by a Village Woman
BENGALURU: Irawa Ningappa Hosalli along with her husband Ningappa Hosalli and 3 children live in a small village called Keremallapur, Haveri district, Karnataka. Right from her childhood, she has faced innumerable challenges which have made her a strong woman. With no education and no financial support she has had to work very hard to make a living. Irawa and her husband managed a small tea stall in Keremallapur which earned them about Rs. 7,000/- a month. However, this was not enough to meet the needs of the family members. A programme supported by Concern India Foundation, responded to the issue of poverty existing in this village and organized people to work together to tackle the issue concerning their development. Regular visits to Keremallapur and interaction with the women helped to build a good rapport with the village people. Eventually, 14 women willingly gathered to form a Self Help group (SHG) named Sri Durgadevi Mahila Swa Sahaya Sangha, to work towards their development. This SHG acquired a loan amount of Rs. 1, 90,000/- through MicroGraam. Irawa borrowed Rs. 20,000/- from the SHG and invested the amount to develop her tea stall into a small hotel, located on the main road, where she sells tea, breakfast, lunch, snacks etc., Both Irawa and Ningappa are busy with their hotel and make over Rs. 12,000/- a month. Today Irawa is a successful business woman and very confident of expanding her business and income.
Successful Breakthrough for Bank Linkages by the Self Help Group
BENGALURU: Upparahalli a small village in Karnataka suffers from acute poverty and for the last few years the villagers have been planning to organize themselves into Self Help Groups (SHG) in order to sustain their livelihood. Women of C.Upparahalli approached a programme supported by Concern India Foundation to help them to form and nurture a SHG in their village. Accordingly, the programme included C. Upparahalli village for the project implementation where 17 women members organized themselves into a SHG- Subodhaya Mahila Sangha, and started saving Rs 100/month as against the earlier saving of Rs 40/Month. With the help of the programme they were able to get them the bank linkage from the nearest branch of SBI, where they had their SHG Savings Bank account. But no financial aid could be obtained through the bank. In the meantime, the programme team organized a workshop on banking schemes for rural areas and trained them for preparing value added products from the Grain Amaranths which is easily reaped in the area. In that particular workshop Indian Overseas Bank, agreed to link the SHGs. The Subodhaya Mahila Sangha of C Upparahalli was provided with a loan amount of Rs 3 lakh from IOB which has been utilized by the members to work on the livelihood improvement activities.
Hope of Good Health
HYDERABAD: Rishi Govind is 5 years old. His life has been a struggle from the time he was 5 months old. Hailing from a small town in Tirupati and coming from a poor family, it is hard for his family to make both ends meet. When Rishi was 5 months old, he got a swelling in his abdomen and doctors were unable to diagnose the problem so they referred him to Allo Hospitals in Chennai where the blood test confirmed that he was thalassemia major. With their limited knowledge of thalassemia they took their son back to Tirupati and started giving him blood transfusion as it is a requisite to stay healthy. After some time, his parents came across the staff of the health programme supported by Concern India Foundation in their hometown and were told about thalassemia and measures taken to control it. This was an eye opener to the parents as they had never gone through such counselling in the past. They decided to get him to the health programme in Hyderabad. Coming to the health centre made all the difference in Rishi’s life, through counselling and managing the disorder. The programme managers educated the parents about being eligible for Aarogyasri Scheme (health scheme offered by the Government) for medication required during transfusion. They are very grateful to the health programme which has educated them about the disease management through counselling and about the Government health scheme which is less burdensome to the family today.
An Inspiration for All
MUMBAI: Vaijayanta, the youngest of 5 children, born into a Jogeen family in Kholapur, suffered social discrimination throughout her life. While she was a child, her father migrated to Mumbai and secured employment at Mumbai Municipal Corporation. He joined the social movement started by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar for eradication of untouchability and upliftment of scheduled castes in India. The exposure he got working with the Ambedkar movement opened the mind of Mr. Kamble; he was determined to educate his children and make them independent. Vaijayanta completed her SSC and though she wished to study further, had to take up a job due to the economic status of her family. When she reached marriageable she was married to a teacher from a residential school in the tribal area of Kolhapur, where she lived among the Adivasi school girls, educating them. Unfortunately, her husband was an alcoholic and passed away in her early years of marriage. It was then that she moved back to her parents in Mumbai. Later, a Concern India Foundation supported programme in Mumbai that provides vocational training to girls from the underprivileged section of society, identified Vaijayanta during a door-to-door outreach activity. The staff informed her that she could complete her education through Yashwantrao Chavan Open University and thus, she completed her BA degree. Today, Vaijayanta is working as a supervisor of an adivasi girl’s hostel and resides at one of the quarters. Her life is an example for the adivasi girls, encouraging them to complete their education and lead an independent life.
Survivor Not a Victim
BENGALURU: After her marriage, Mujeeba, came to know that her husband was a petty thief and an alcoholic. This led to frequent fights at home, in one such incident; he poured kerosene on her, leaving her severely burnt. She was admitted for treatment at Victoria Hospital. At the hospital she was referred to the programme centre supported by Concern India Foundation, where she received medical & legal support. She was provided with dressing on her wounds, counselling and legal help to ensure that she gets compensation for her treatment. The legal counsel had 6 – 7 sittings with her and her husband’s family. This resulted in a settlement for her medical treatment. She got a medical compensation of Rs. 1, 45,000. Her Legal counsel has also filed a case against her husband and family members under Domestic Violence Act for relief and maintenance of child, shelter and protection. The case will continue but there is help at the centre and support groups to fall back on. Now that the integration process has started, a new life begins for Mujeeba.
Rising Above All Odds
TELANAGA: Saritha, is a 19 year old who studied up to Intermediate but failed. Her parents are agricultural labourers as they do not own land. They work in the agricultural fields only during the cultivation season. During the dry spell they are unemployed and face a financial crunch. She has a younger sister who is now studying in the 10th class. In order to reappear for her exam Saritha has to pay tuition and exam fees which were very high and unaffordable and hence she dropped out and was idle for 3 months. Through word of mouth she was introduced to the vocational centre run by the programme, supported by Concern India Foundation. This became a turning point in her life and she was excited to learn a new skill. She enrolled in the centre and decided to be independent in order to help support her parents and her sister’s education. She successfully learnt tailoring and embroidery. Today she stitches blouses and dresses through orders and earns Rs. 3000 per month on an average. She is content with her new skill and would like to give her Intermediate examinations by paying fees from her earnings and sees a better future for herself. She is extremely thankful to the staff of her vocational centre for standing by her and encouraging her at every step.
Above and Beyond
MUMBAI: Nazia Ali’s family was going through a major financial crisis, when she approached this vocational training centre supported by Concern India Foundation. She completed a basic course in computers and with the help of the staff; she took up a job at an imitation jewellery manufacturing workshop in the area. “I earn nearly Rs 8000/- a month, which is a boon to my family in this hour of need. The workshop is located close to my house; therefore, I do not need to travel out of my locality. I now intend to complete my studies through the Open University, so that I can get a better job and earn a better salary.” This programme has been working with women in Malwani, Asia’s second largest slum. The vocational centre provides training in computers, tailoring, mobile repairs, mehendi application and professional beautician course. The participants are also given training and capacity building sessions on savings, bank accounts, life skills and general health education, as well as awareness sessions on different social and health issues. They have mobilised the community to form Self Help Groups (SHGs) for the empowerment of women. At present, the programme is working with 75 Self Help Groups.
Improving Capacities of Rural Women
RANNEBENNUR: “If it weren’t for my goats and a loan of Rs. 20,000, I would not be alive today”, says 30-year-old Nirmala. This woman from Ranebennur, Haveri belonged to a lower caste, owned no land, hardly came out of home, and was distraught when she lost her husband. She had no job and two children to look after a few years ago. Today, Nirmala runs a viable goat-rearing business with 10-12 goats, has both her children going to school and participates in the development of her taluk. The aim of this Concern India Foundation supported programme is to help develop the socio-economic conditions of the rural poor – particularly women – and encourage their involvement in local planning and Gram Panchayats. The programme facilitates improving the capacities of the women to increase their income, improve local infrastructure, and promote preventive health care in the proposed villages. The programme also conducts awareness sessions with women on legal issues, accessing cheaper loan facilities, reducing migration caused by unemployment and involvement of SHG’s in gram sabha activities.