Deepalaya strongly believes that women should have equal socio-economic, cultural and political opportunities as men. With this ideology in mind, a successful attempt was made to achieve a 50:50 ratio for both genders at all our formal schools.
While doing research, it was discovered that gender discrimination was rampant in Mewat, a district of Haryana. Not only were the women in the region uneducated and unemployed, but were also given no say in the decision making processes that included them and their family.
To combat this increasingly alarming issue, Deepalaya partnered with the Mewar Dev Agency in 1999 to start a comprehensive programme on Self Help Groups. The programme began with five villages and three groups consisting of 48 members. Through sheer diligence and determination, the project has now expanded to cover more than 1,000 groups with a total of 11,879 women in all 84 villages of the Tavru Block.
In 2012, the women Self Help Groups saved Rs. 14.56 million and their total savings have increased to Rs. 46.84 million. From the savings alone they have given out loans worth Rs. 927 lakh.
A five-fold strategy was used to bring about this tremendous change –
- Provide market oriented vocational skill training to women and adolescent girls.
- Commitment to help mothers of children, who are attending educational classes, and involve them in saving, thrift and credit, skill training and income generation activities.
- Integration of adult literacy with skill training and income generation or making literacy a precondition for skill training and income generation activities.
- Development of leadership within the communities and linking them with government and non-government facilities.
- Generation of awareness among common people through involving women from project locations and using IEC materials.