Families in the poorest communities in South India often lack the most basic needs such as clean water, safe shelter and the opportunity to gain an education. Most of the work is seasonal labouring work and in an emergency and without access to bank loans, people often turn to moneylenders who charge very high interest rates. 

"People in this village depend on daily wage labouring work and we don’t have any land to cultivate of our own. Most of the households live in extreme poverty. Women are the most affected, having to do labouring work as well as running the home and all the household chores." 

We believe everyone deserves the security to be able to build their own future. Our women's self-help groups bring together 10-20 women from a common background in their villages to provide mutual support, education and security.

What does a self-help group do?

Members of the self-help groups contribute small amounts of money to a common fund, which is then available for emergency needs or to fund rural enterprises by members. Loans are made available at a very low interest rate, giving women from the poorest families the step up they need to start building a new future.

"After attending a training programme on risk management and financial fund management run by Reaching the Unreached, I approached our self-help group and applied for a production loan to develop the dry land. During the last two years we earned 300,000 Rupees and settled 65% of the loan to my uncle's moneylender. I also used some of our profits for my children’s education and food and now I have repaid the loan I received from my self-help group." Bothumani, self-help group member.

Supported by RTU, self-help groups have four main aims:

  1. Mutual help
  2. Financial mediation
  3. Livelihood planning
  4. Social empowerment

In addition to supporting each other, self-help group members are able to address important issues such as domestic violence, alcoholism and security in their villages in a safe, strong setting. Thanks to the leadership skills they develop, the groups also lead to improved local education attainment, better nutrition and greater social awareness about health-related issues in the villages.

Empowering women

Last year, 1,642 women in 28 villages belonged to a total of 111 self-help groups across Theni and Dinidigul districts. The groups collected savings of more than 5.8 m rupees during the year to help create a positive future for the poorest families.

With your support, we can set up more self-help groups to empower women from the poorest backgrounds to take control of their lives and create a difference in their communities.

Help us give women a brighter future