Women in the Tansa Valley generally have little to no education, are reliant on their husbands to support the family and are traditionally not leaders within their villages. The poverty and illiteracy of the region leads to numerous family and community concerns. The creation of self-help groups has allowed women to unite and become empowered to learn new skills and become leaders within their communities.
SHGs help their members tackle the innumerable problems they face, including indebtedness, alcoholism and illiteracy. When individuals come together to form a SHG, they each agree to contribute a nominal sum of money every month to a common pool. PRASAD Chikitsa volunteers then help the group to set up systems and processes to manage their finances, decision-making, and planning, as well as to help them maintain discipline.
SHGs are involved in a range of projects, including running small businesses, improving the condition of roads and schools, organizing village cleanups, promoting HIV/AIDS awareness and accomplishing environmental initiatives.
In 2001, there were 11 PRASAD Chikitsa SHGs in the Tansa Valley. Today, there are 259 SHGs, with more than 3,000 members among them. The success of these SHGs is inspiring more and more women to form their own groups.