The rural poor
Our work focusses primarily on the empowerment of the rural poor and in particular, women; facilitating the development of their economic skills and knowledge in order that they may gain greater self-sufficiency and acceptance from wider society.
We believe that it’s only through strong partnerships and collective action that this can be achieved. We currently work with a number of strategic partnerships formed across civil society in India to bring about lasting change.
The Dalit community are discriminated against and deprived of any social privileges in India. They are deemed to be educationally backward, socially discriminated, economically deprived and politically powerless and neglected. In the main, they don’t have any access to resource or welfare support from Government or any other agency.
The plight of Women
However, within this context more often than not, the ultimate victim of rural poverty is the female. In most cases, the women are classed as secondary level citizens. Within these communities women are extremely vulnerable, asset less and invisible on the socio-economic front. They do not have access to any form of financial credit and are denied rights to property. They are therefore engaged in even greater menial work than their spouses and are often engaged in subsistence occupations to eke out a meagre living.
These women tend to have fewer resources, fewer rights and fewer opportunities to make life-shaping decisions than men. And when emergencies strike, they’re the worst affected. There are many, often complex, reasons why women are not reaching their full potential. Domestic violence, discrimination and lack of education are among the biggest barriers
What we’re doing – Unlocking potential
Whenever and wherever we work with poor communities, we make sure that we consult and include women at every stage. Men are indispensable allies in this.
With an education under their belt, a whole generation of girls will have opportunities that their mothers never had. With literacy comes confidence and the chance to earn more money, become self-sufficient and speak out against violence.
With laws and systems that guarantee better health care, fewer women will die in childbirth and fewer children will die from easily preventable diseases.
With loans, seeds, tools, better farming techniques and business training, more women will be able to grow more food, sew, craft and make goods that they can market themselves.
And in emergencies, taking care of women’s specific needs is vital for ensuring survival, good health and dignity. Employing their skills and knowledge makes communities far stronger and more effective in recovering from disasters.
Our vision is that by focusing on uplifting the status of women, many more women will gain power over their lives.
In the past few decades we have seen the role and status of women change in many communities. Despite the many often daunting challenges that lie ahead, there are many success stories but the battle continues…..
Long held and deeply entrenched prejudices will take time to break down but we know it can be done.
Since our inception, there has been great progress made and Our Stories highlight the direct impact that the projects have had on people’s lives.