SWAVALAMBAN - Earning Self-Respect through SHGs

Swavalamban means ‘self reliance’. The project consists of generating and sustaining Self Help Groups in the villages of Maharashtra. Self Help Groups are born with the aim of creating a space where a group of people in a similar situation work together to overcome their problems and provide support to each other in their time of need. They function like a small community within a larger one. The objective of a self help group is to enable the residents of a village to form a group whose members will sit together and collectively discover solutions to their problems, design programs and plans for the development of the village at a tertiary and grass roots level. Being a part of the group also gives the members a sense of responsibility and builds their confidence. There are 380 self help groups under Maher at present. Swavalamban is one of the successful projects of Maher. All our social workers have regular meetings with the groups and identify leaders in them. SHGs have helped many to start income generation activities such as goat farming, buying cattle, provision shops, cloth shops, papad making, paper plate making etc. Now we have 541 SHGs in a range of villages in Maharashtra. Now the women have started coming together for a good cause such as de-addiction, for their own rights, helping one another during crisis and income generation activities. Now we also have SHGs in the rural villages of Maharashtra and interior villages of Jharkhand. SHGs are conducting many awareness programs on health, education, superstition, equality, domestic violence, female feticide etc. Now that the SHG leaders are taking initiatives to develop villages along with others, Maher is slowly and steadily moving into the interiors of new villages where there is need.