Self Help Groups

HEAL has been socially mobilizing people since 2004 in Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli Districts of Tamil Nadu. So far we have formed 102 groups in Kanyakumari and 56 groups in Tirunelveli District. The groups are formed in Dalit, Fishing and sea shell workers villages.

Weekly meetings are organized and savings habits are being promoted. The programme co-ordinator and community organizers conduct monthly sessions on the plight of the target people, the need of collective strength and bargaining, savings, credit, bank linkages, book keeping etc. This has instilled a lot of confidence among the women and generated awareness on both preventive and curative areas of illness. It has also helped them to understand their rights and ability to accept the challenges of life, share problems and find solutions. They were also given an opportunity and space for singing, dancing and group games in order to help them to forget the painful past experiences and give them strength and joy and the opportunity to look ahead. These groups provide all the ground support for the activities that we carry out in our target area.

All the SHG members were given training on four main topics like Formation Training, BOT Training, EDP Training and Accounts maintaining Training. BOT means Basic Orientation Training. In this training all the basic rules and regulations of a self help group is explained. The main aim of the training is to avoid any type of conflicts or misunderstandings among the members of the group thus facilitating smooth functioning of the group. The training also explains the various ways of bringing more credit to the group by procuring different benefits from both banks and government. Only those groups which have completed the BOT are eligible for getting revolving fund from the Government.

Some of the other topics in which trainings were conducted are:

  • Importance of maintaining proper and systematic registers and books of accounts.
  • Information on the different financial assistances like Bank Loans, Revolving Fund, Direct Loans and other financial assistances.
  • Government Welfare Departments available to provide assistances like Fisheries Welfare Department, Unorganized Sectors, Construction Department, Sea Shell Handicraft Artisans Welfare Department, Social Welfare Department, Physically handicapped and Widow Pension.
  • Sustainability of the Self Help Group.
  • Roles and Responsibilities of the Child Care Centres
  • Women Rights and Laws
  • Benefits and the need for attending other village level meetings like Grama Sabha, Panchayat meetings.
  • Importance of education.
  • Health and sanitation.
  • Child Care
  • Benefits of Income Generation Programmes like Economic development, Marketing linkages, Motivation and Creating opportunities for economic development.
  • Importance of the Federation and the need for their participation in strengthening the Federation.
  • Common issues in the society and thus increase their awareness on the violence happening against women.