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Building the Base through women

Women development is emerging as the most vibrantly speaking issue and a new field of social work. Even though we are spending a huge volume of resource and time for women empowerment activities from years back .even though the government has passed a number of legislations and constituted several organization and systems for the empowerment and protection of the women, the womanhood in India is facing severe humiliation and atrocities. Childhood and old age are also not excluded by the slaughterer. The uncivilized behaviour of the minority imposing scars in the face of male hood of India. Self protection and improved level of support from the community is the best way to ensure security and equality to women in the present India.
To empower and uplift the female population in highly patriarchal and marginalized communities like fisher folk QSSS has developed a separate department. The department is named as Women in Development (WID) and rendering professional service for the empowerment of women for years. The department of WID is considered as the back born of the agency and the operational area of the agency was divided into five zones for delivering women development activities. A Women Development Officer coordinating the activities initiated by the department, Zonal coordinators monitoring and supervising the women empowerment activities took place at zonal level.
Agency believed that economic empowerment and independence is one of the prime tools useful to ensure increased position in the social ladder and wide acceptance in the family. So the agency is educating the stakeholder to save a smaller portion of their income and providing emergency loan to them on nominal interest rate.
The department also gives importance to provide alternative livelihood training on various careers to the women and youth to find out an additional income and escape from the vicious circle of poverty because their traditional livelihood is traditional one.
All the activities carried out by the agency is implemented through the following system

SAMRUDHI

It is the people’s bank constituted to help the poor in time of need and protect them from cut throat money lenders. It has completed a successful half year in resource mobilization among the marginalized and initiating saving among them. It also provides advances to the needy people to initiate micro enterprises, modernize or develop the existing IGP, repay their debts and meet their present needs. This entity is a blessing to the poor people in the midst of cutthroat money lenders and rigid bank policies. Presently more than 35000 people are executing thrift and credit operation by utilizing this facility.

Performance statistics of SAMRUDHI as follows

Zone

Unit

Members

Savings

Loan

Chittumala

26

6182

4,043,052

14,386,000

Karunagapally

25

6872

1,913,972

10,686,500

Kollam

28

12826

3,140,115

7,580,500

Kottiyam

13

3342

7,54,936

2,097,000

Mavelikkara

16

3379

1,616,168

4,620,000

Total

108

32601

11468243

39352000

SAGARA SAMRUDHI

It is a new initiative designed for fish vending women to protect them from cut throat money lenders. The pilot project was implemented in Pallithottam area. 21 fish vending women came forward to be a part of these initiatives. The beneficiaries were grouped into two SHGs and provided a support of loan up to 10000 at nominal interest rate. They will repay it within five months.

Self Help Group

Self help groups are playing vital role in the socio cultural and economic strengthening and in the enhancement of capacities of people. It is evident that through SHGs, many of them come together with a feeling of likeminded and developed leadership qualities and soft skills to compete with the need of the hour. Through SHGs we have encouraged thrift and credit operation, entrepreneurial and skill development activities and support them to initiate income generation programmes and provided opportunities for productive investment. The SHG members run a number of micro enterprise initiatives very successfully. Restructuring of the existing SHGs and the new registration was started in the year of 2011-12. By this year 565 SHGS were restructured and newly registered under our system.

Zones

No of SHG

Members

Loan outstanding (previous year)

Loan during the year

Total

Repayment

Balance

Kollam

297

3025

553894

2415000

2968894

959913

2008981

Karunagapally

85

865

462936

2060000

2522936

749736

1773200

Kottiyam

70

700

4472398

8215000

12687398

3336310

9351088

Chittumala

25

263

150625

575000

725625

208711

516914

Mavelikkara

88

892

826522

4575000

5401522

1435870

3965652

Total

565

5745

64663756

17840000

24306375

6690540

17615835

Vocational training and alternative livelihood programme

To ensure the economic independence and stability to the marginalized women they need a livelihood as their own. We are not able to include the whole unemployed women and youth in the present industry or job market. Therefore we are concentrating in providing capacity building and skill development training to the needy. Through this training they are able to establish a venture as their own and find out an additional income rather than their traditional livelihood. Women and Youth are the prime beneficiary for this programme. This programme has helped them to utilize the existing opportunities and resource to find out better options.
Training
This department is providing training on tailoring and garment making, Beautician course, and various computer courses. After the completion of the training the beneficiaries are able to shape their caliber according to the need of the market or start a livelihood programme as self employment.

Livelihood programme

Apart from the traditional livelihoods like fish vending, fish drying and processing women are engaged in lease land farming, note book making manufacturing of led weights, pickle making, bakery and confectionary, catering service, petty shops, firewood retailing, rearing of cattle and poultry farm. All these activities are selected by the beneficiary by considering the easy availability of raw material and high demand for the product in the local market. These livelihoods act as the back bone of the family income.

Day observances

In this reporting year the department observed international day for women, Aids day and Environment day. The Women’s day was observed with a two wheeler rally of women and a seminar on plight of women in present India. The rally was started from Thrikkadavoor Grama Panchayath and lead by Mrs. Roshni Pillai, coordinator WID. All the vehicle participated in the rally was decorated with messages demanding for independence, care and protection to the women from the society. 50 scooters participated in the rally. The rally was honored with a reception by Jilla Mission, KUDUMBASREE on the women’s day celebration organized at Baby John Memorial Govt. College, Chavara. The rally was ended at Quilon Social Service Society and followed by an interactive session by Ms. Divya Devaki on the plight of Indian women in the present scenario. The session was threw a light to the true life of middle class and marginalized women in Indian society.

Environment Day
Environment day was observed with plantation of mangrove in Kochuthururhu Island at Ashtamudi Lake. This is a small island having only 38 families. Fencing with mangrove is the only measure to protect the island from heavy wind and providing natural environment for their livelihood. Department of Social Forestry joined hand with us in this effort. With the support of students from nearby school, social work student’s undergone training in DSSS and the villages the agency had planted nearly 250 mangroves in the banks of the lake. The villagers are very happy because it will be a great support to them in the future.

Aids Day

Aids day observation was carried out in the coastal belt as a joined effort of SHG federation and youth organization. There was an orientation of community about the methods through which the infection was transmitted. The aim of the training was to protect the community from the infection and reduce the stigma towards the patient and their family.