On International Women’s Day, PRASAD Chikitsa distributed sewing and beading machines
This month, in recognition of International Women’s Month, we are honoring the women of our Self-Help Groups (SHGs). At The PRASAD Project, we celebrate women every day seeing firsthand the important role they play across all aspects of life. PRASAD Chikitsa’s Self-Help Groups have empowered women to be leaders in their communities.
The training women receive in our SHGs isn’t just about the transformation of self or support of the family, but how to become active community members. Through the company and encouragement of fellow women, they learn that they can be independent and still be part of their family. Providing emotional, educational, and financial assistance, the SHGs allow women to cross the threshold of their own limitations and open the door to endless opportunities.
PRASAD Chikitsa trains women to start income-generating activities by helping them become financially literate and self-reliant. An inspirational result is that many have started businesses: sewing and beading, farming, grain mills, and party utensil rentals.
Sanjana with her husband Sanjay and their daughter Chitanya
One of these women is Sanjana, who achieved a dream by providing an essential service to her community. Sanjana, the Yogini SHG secretary, dreamt of starting her own business but wasn’t sure she had the proper financial background. When the pandemic lockdown paralyzed life in her village of Kalambhon by suspending weekly bazaars essential to the village’s welfare and economy, Sanjana knew she had to take action.
Sanjana shared her business idea with her Yogini members and PRASAD Chikitsa staff, who decided to give her a loan to start a small grocery store. On India’s 74th Independence Day, August 15, 2020, Sanjana opened her grocery store. Villagers were elated, grateful to have a local resource and to support a fellow villager.
Sanjana’s dream is now realized. Aided by her self-help group, Sanjana started a business vital to the livelihood of her family and her tribal community. She has also gained autonomy and embraced her potential. Of her experience, she said, “PRASAD Chikitsa motivated me, and my SHG members helped me take this leap forward. Without them, my shop would still only be a dream. This is just the beginning: I want to go a long way.”
Sanjana is just one of the more than 3,000 women whose lives have been transformed by Self-Help Groups. As the world recovers, our work continues. $110 can launch a Self-Help Group that provides training and economic opportunity, enfranchising women to become the best version of themselves. When women are empowered, their families and communities thrive. We count on your support to help these women build a brighter future. Please give today!
Dr. M. Cecilia Escarra