Women’s Self-Help Group
Empowering women. Women's Self-Help Groups help to empower members through training, information and organisation. They may learn about savings and credit programs, small business or leadership, or enrol in adult literacy courses. Together with other clusters of Self-Help Groups, members can also make a real difference by lobbying government for policy change.
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Meet the members of the Women’s Self-Help Group in Hassa village, in the area of North Bihar, India. Bihar is one of India’s poorest states, and its statistics reflect this: maternal mortality rates are high, literacy levels are low and there are also high rates of migration. Many children leave school early and go to work in the fields or the mines.
It’s here that TEAR partner the Muneer Social Welfare Society (Muneer) has been working to help transform communities, through an integrated project that includes adult literacy programs, vocational training, Self-Help Groups and health awareness training. Their approach is inclusive and empowering – first meeting with community members to help identify problems and solutions in their villages, and then encouraging communities to plan for their own futures.
These women are among a group of 15 who have been meeting since July 2011, developing a good foundation from which to build new opportunities. Led by a facilitator from Muneer, they meet once a month to pool a small amount of money, which the group’s office bearers deposit at the bank (a four-hour round trip) into a joint savings account. Members can then make loans from the group to start up a business or pay medical costs, avoiding high-interest loan sharks. Muneer’s facilitator also helps educate group members about government schemes and entitlements, health and hygiene and other education topics.
Most of the group members are illiterate, but are also participating in Muneer’s literacy class in their village. It’s hopeful that, soon, they will be able to read their savings passbooks and share in the leadership of the group, travelling further on their journey towards empowerment.
Your gift of a Self-Help Group is contributing to projects like this one and making a difference in the lives of those facing poverty and marginalisation.
About our partner – Muneer
The Muneer Social Welfare Society is a Delhi-based Christian development organisation that responds to the needs of the poor and marginalised through projects that include health, education and micro-credit activities. The word “muneer” is derived from an Urdu word meaning “light house”, symbolising its work to be Christ’s light in the world.