The projects below were approved at our October 2016 board meeting.
In October 2016, the RSWR Board approved 22 new projects. 5 of the projects are in Sierra Leone, 6 projects are in Kenya and 11 in India. Each of these projects will support between 20 and 45 women to begin small businesses that fit with their skills, their culture, and the resources and markets available in their local economy.
Madurai District, Tamil Nadu, India
Beneficiaries: 40 dalit (formerly called “untouchable”) women
Projects: Tailoring and embroidery, Vegetable and fruit vending, Readymade clothes sales, Ghee, butter and milk sales, Papadam (snack crackers) making
This NGO has received 4 grants from RSWR in the past and has often assisted with the training of new RSWR partners. The earlier grants’ revolving funds have been revolving among new beneficiaries and have now reached 531 beneficiaries.
Grace Trust describes the village where this new project will be undertaken: “The poor women’s income depends upon the agricultural sector which faced failure of monsoon for the last 8 years, it is very difficult to earn money even for the daily bread. Deforestation, cultivable lands becoming real estates, illiterate women, gender inequality, low wages, child laborers, no loans for women by the government and economic dependency are the main reason for this project”.
Before beginning the project, the women will be trained on small business management, records maintenance and accounting, quality control, marketing, and savings and micro credit. They will also have training on leadership and gender sensitivity and socio economic and political awareness on women’s issues.
The 40 women will be loaned Rs.6,500 ($98) each to undertake one of the five income-generating activities. They expect to net $41 to $57 per month after expenses and repayment. They will also save $2 per month.
Rural Woman’s Development Trust
Vellore District, Tamil Nadu, India
Project: Cotton hand glove sewing
RWDT works for the alleviation of poverty, and the empowerment of women. They sponsor skill training programs in a variety of activities and also offer health education and alternative employment to beedi rolling (thin Indian cigarettes) and incense stick making which are both hazardous to the health. RWDT has been a partner with RSWR 4 times since 2007. The earlier RSWR grants are successfully revolving and around 862 women beneficiaries have received loans.
The beneficiaries of this project make their income from agricultural labor. However, because of monsoon failure and other factors, agricultural jobs are declining and so the people are not getting the work they need to sustain their families. Many families are migrating to other areas in search of work. But migration is very bad for the family – children are taken out of school, they have poor housing, and they become prey to unfamiliar illnesses. Wages are still low and irregular and transportation costs are increased, so they actually live in a worse state than if they had stayed in their own villages. This project will offer the women employment in their own villages so they do not have to migrate. The women have all already undergone a tailoring training course offered by RWDT.
20 women will borrow approximately $180 each to buy a sewing machine and materials to make hand gloves. These gloves are in great demand year round as they are used by the workers in all the area factories. The women will net $236 per month after expenses, savings and loan repayment.
Jitahidi Self Help Group
Beneficiaries: 24 women from various Christian denominations
Projects: Groceries, Smoked and fried fish, Cabbages, green vegetables, and potatoes, Chickens and eggs, Cereals, Milk sales, Tent and chair rentals and catering service
This group is comprised of 24 women from various Christian denominations who meet every Sunday evening. They formed this group to increase self-reliance among members, reduce poverty, improve health for family members, and cater to their children’s educational needs. They also hope to offer needed services to the community.
The group is located in an area of stony hills and sandy soil that is not suited to agriculture, so the residents must find an alternative means of survival. 62% of the people in the village live below the poverty line. Problems include HIV/AIDS, a high drop-out rate, especially for girls because of early pregnancies, children roaming the markets looking for food, and no proper plan to take care of the aged, widowed mothers and other vulnerable members of the community.
All of the women of JSHG already have individual businesses. They contribute KES.25 (25¢) each week to a group fund that is loaned out to members on a rotating basis to invest in their individual businesses. The RSWR funds will be used to expand these businesses. In addition, the women have a group catering business on the weekends which they all participate in and share the profits. They say of this business: “It binds women together that they have something to do jointly”. They are asking for KES.85,000 ($853) to buy another tent for this group business. They make about KES.10,000 ($100) for each event they cater. In 2015, they catered 4 events. The group has had several trainings from Solidarity Microfinance, Ministry of Agriculture, Care International and Social Services.
The women will borrow $100 to $200 for their individual businesses. They expect to net $30 to $51 per month after expenses, repayment and savings. Income from the catering business will be in addition to this.
People’s Educational Awareness Service Trust
Trichirapalli District, Tamil Nadu, India
Beneficiaries: 35 Dalit and tribal women
Projects: Flower vending, Fruit vending, Bamboo basket making, Thatch making, Tailoring
PEAS has recently completed a successful project in partnership with RSWR in a neighboring area and the women in this new area have seen the results of that project and have asked to be supported in income-generating activities also. The first year revolving fund had 21initial beneficiaries and they have added 34 new beneficiaries. PEAST is conducting regular meetings for its beneficiaries on identification of new viable income generation activities. The activities chosen are rural based, the raw materials are readily available locally, and the products will be sold locally.
10 of the beneficiaries are from the Thomba tribe. This tribe traditionally does bamboo basket making for their livelihood. However, they lack capital to run this enterprise successfully. The other 25 beneficiaries are from Dalit families who make their living from agricultural labor. However, for various reasons, the agricultural jobs are no longer available and they cannot find alternative work. The NGO says of these two groups: “They are houseless, propertyless and now jobless . . . [they] are not having any basic records to avail the free schemes from the Government, neither they have forum to voice for them nor the cooperation to fight with the Government to win their rights.”
All the women will be trained for two days on project orientation and skills needed to run the project successfully. The women doing basket and thatch making will be trained for 3 additional days in advanced skills for those handicrafts. The women will receive loans of $97 to $124 according to their IGP. They will make an average monthly income of $63 to $121 after expenses, repayment and savings.
Kasiyatama Women’s Association
Kono District, Eastern Province, Sierra Leone
This is a group of local women farmers who meet monthly and work together to try to increase the income of the farmers in the chiefdom. However, they continue to live in poverty because they lack farm equipment, seeds and planting materials to significantly increase their productivity. The group currently has a membership of 40 women in two villages. Most of the current members of the group are widows who lost their husbands to the Ebola virus. The association has participated in many community agricultural development programs sponsored by agencies such as IFAD, BRAC and the Sierra Leone Ministry of Agriculture.
Before receiving loans, the beneficiaries will first be trained in business management, revolving loan funds, micro credit, and food production, processing and marketing.
32 of the women will receive the initial loans. The others will receive loans from the repaid funds. Each woman will receive a loan of $119 to produce rice, cassava, corn, pepper, okra, and potatoes. She and her family will consume some of the produce and they will reserve some seeds for the next planting season. After six months, she will sell her excess produce and repay her loan at that point. She expects to have a net income of $1,305 for the six months, or $218 per month.
Members of KWA are encouraged to save 10% of their net income. In addition, many group members participate in a round-robin scheme in small groups of 5-7 women. Each quarter the women make a contribution (the amount is agreed upon among the members of each small group) to a group pot and one woman receives the total on a rotating basis.
Social Welfare Empowerment and Education Trust
Tirupur District, Tamil Nadu, India
Beneficiaries: 25 Sri Lankan repatriates
Projects: Petty shops, Vegetable vending, Tailoring, Goat rearing, Masala powder preparation
The director of SWEET, Mrs. T. Baby, grew up in poverty with a single mother. She was able to get her B.Com. degree by working as an agricultural coolie on school holidays and selling flowers before and after school. After she got her degree, she worked in a social service organization for 18 years before starting SWEET. She is married to a Ski Lankan Repatriate.
When Britain ruled India and Sri Lanka, they transported many Tamil Indians to work on plantations in Sri Lanka. In 1948, immediately after independence, the Sri Lankan parliament passed a law which discriminated against the Tamils of South Indian origin, making it virtually impossible for them to obtain citizenship. Over the next 30 years, more than 300,000 Tamils were deported by Sri Lanka back to India. In general, these people live below the poverty line and many still live in refugee camps. They are distrusted by the Indian government because some are militant and are accused of carrying out terrorist acts in Sri Lanka and India.
This project will support 25 Sri Lankan repatriates whose families lost their jobs at spinning mills closed by the government. Most of the proposed beneficiaries are widows, physically challenged and single mothers. Each woman will borrow $150 and put in $15 to $45 from her own savings. The women expect to net $50 to $72 per month after expenses, repayment and savings.
Mahanga Friends Women Group
Beneficiaries: 26 Quaker women
Projects: Rabbit rearing, Bee keeping, Firewood selling
This group began meeting together in 2012 and were officially registered in 2014. They meet once a month. Their resources are meager and they struggle with poverty and food insecurity in their families and in their community. They started the group so they could pool their resources and start some income-generating projects.
The women are currently involved in many small scale businesses, including firewood, poultry, rabbits, bananas, charcoal, buying and reselling milk, vegetables of all kinds, running of kiosks, maize, onions and tomatoes and groundnuts. They fund their business with a monthly contribution of KES.200 ($2) per woman that is collected and loaned out to members of the group. The RSWR Field Representative says of the group: “These women are very knowledgeable about local market trading and are capable of succeeding in business if given the needed capital.”
For the RSWR project, the women have chosen the three projects listed because they are needed commodities in the community and thus they have a good market. They have never done bee-keeping before, but 6 women decided to undertake it after attending a Farmer’s Field Day presentation by the county department of livestock production. The other two projects will be undertaken by 10 women each.
The women will borrow $116 to $213 depending on their business. They expect to net $94 to $107 per month after expenses, repayment and savings.
Grama Reconstruction and Extensive Action Trust
Krishnagiri District, Tamil Nadu, India
Beneficiaries: 25 mothers of children with disabilities
Projects: Cooked food sales, Petty shops, Tea shops, Fruit vending
GREAT was started by a team of young grassroots women who were leaders and officials in their self help groups. The managing trustee, Mrs. Uma Maheswari was a self help group leader for 5 years. She has participated in several women leadership trainings including a leadership development program organized by the government of Tamil Nadu.
The beneficiaries of this project are mothers of disabled and mentally challenged children. They are currently working as seasonal agricultural laborers but they do not make an adequate income. Also, it is very difficult for them to work outside the home because of their children’s special needs. They have requested this project so that they can begin businesses that they can do from their homes. They have suggested the businesses listed.
The beneficiaries will first receive a two-day orientation on project activities, and the formation and management of a revolving loan fund management committee. Then they will receive two days training on marketing methods and techniques to manage a successful business. They will then be given loans according to their chosen business, from $110 to $205. They expect to net $100 to $173 per month after expenses, repayment and savings.
Mokaly Women Development Project
Moyamba District, Southern Province, Sierra Leone
Beneficiaries: 30 extremely poor women farmers
Project: Seed rice production
The region where this project is located was seriously affected by the Ebola virus. Thousands of people died and the economy was ruined. This project is an attempt to recover economically. The village chief is very supportive of the women’s project and has promised to give them more land so they can grow more crops.
The women will be divided into 3 groups of 10 women each and will work collectively as a group. All of the women will grow rice. Each of the 30 women will borrow $173. Each woman will produce and sell nine bags of rice each month for an income of $146 per month after expenses of production. She will repay $15 per month for 12 months. This includes an interest rate of approximately 4% per annum. Her net monthly income will be approximately $131.
From this income, each woman will deposit $9 per month in the group project savings account for emergency needs.
Thanjavur District, Tamil Nadu, India
Beneficiaries: 29 women slum dwellers
Projects: Candy sales, Tailoring, Cooked food sales, Vegetable vending, Fish vending
Marutham Trust, is an NGO headed by Ms. Antoniammal, who has vast experience in development of women, especially in urban slums. MT offers capacity building for women empowerment, helps with credit and bank linkages, trains farmers in sustainable agriculture, and promotes HIV/AIDS prevention education and child health education. They have already completed 4 RSWR projects from 2008-2015. These projects have collectively reached 428 women and funds are still being revolved in all four.
This project will target poor, low caste, women who have left their rural villages and settled in the city slums in hopes of finding work. But they have no skills and know only agricultural work and so end up doing manual labor for very low pay. They live in huts and apartments that lack water and sanitation and have poor connectivity to transportation. They have no government-issued authorization cards to access government schemes, so they have no help from anyone.
The income-generating projects have been chosen by the women themselves. The beneficiaries will first be trained for two days on project goals, activities, challenges and the formation and management of their own revolving fund management committee. They will be loaned $123 to $196 depending on the business chosen. They expect to net $77 to $122 per month after expenses, repayment and savings.
Vushitsyula Friends Women Group
Beneficiaries: 25 Quaker women
Projects: Poultry, Vegetables, Bee-keeping
These women are members of Vushitsyula Friends Village Meeting of Kakamega Yearly Meeting. They formed this group to reduce poverty and unemployment and improve food security and health among their members and in the community.
For the RSWR project, the women have chosen the three projects listed because they have a good market in the local community and will bring a good income. The women will divide themselves into three sub-groups. There will be 10 members in the poultry group, 8 members of the vegetable group and 7 members will do bee-keeping. The women will share the profits equally within their group.
The women have already had training on commercial poultry production and bee-keeping from the Kakemega county government department of livestock production. They have also received extensive training in business by many organizations ranging from the World Bank, Women Enterprise to the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture and the Kenyan Social Services department. They expect to arrange further training for themselves, if funded, on capacity building and group dynamics.
The women will borrow $132 to $212 depending on their business. They expect to net $99 to $112 per month after expenses, repayment, and savings.
The women currently save KES.100 ($1) per month in their group which is used to give small loans to members to engage in their income-generating projects. If funded, this amount will be raised to KES.200 ($2) per month and the money will become “shares” which will earn the members dividends.
Rural Action for Social Empowerment Trust
Thanjavur District, Tamil Nadu, India
Beneficiaries: 30 mothers of mentally challenged children
Projects: Paper covers and bags, Coconut vending, Ironing cart, Flour grinding, Broom making
RASE Trust currently supports women and youth self help groups, including groups for mothers of mentally challenged children. They also provide day care services for mentally challenged children. They organize awareness campaigns against marriages between close relations to avoid giving birth to children with disabilities. In addition, they provide evening tutoring centers for Dalit children and offer medical and health camps, summer camps for children, HIV/AIDS prevention education, and women leadership development programs. RASET was a past partner of RSWR. Their earlier project was implemented well and 95 new beneficiaries have received loans.
RASET runs a day care center for mentally challenged children and also runs parent education programs. The mothers of the children have shared how difficult their lives are in having to care for their children and also work to support their families. They have asked for this project so that they can begin businesses that can be done in their homes so they don’t have to leave their children.
The beneficiaries will first receive a two-day orientation on project objectives and training on records and account keeping. 6 women will do each activity. They will be loaned $81 to $162 depending on the business chosen. They expect to net $54 to $168 after expenses, repayment and savings.
Gondama Community Development Foundation
Fairo, Soro Gbema Cheifdom Southern Province, Sierra Leone
Beneficiaries: 36 poor fisher women
Project: Fish buying and selling
Gondama Community Development Foundation is located at Sulima along the Moa river near the ocean and the Liberian border. They are isolated from the rest of Sierra Leone by the Moa river. Fishing is the only viable business in the area. Sulima was the first village the rebels attacked when they entered Sierra Leone from Liberia in 1991. The village people ran from their homes to the bush. Some were able to escape but many men, women, and children died. After the war ended in 2002, people began to return to the villages. They took up their traditional occupation of fish mongering, but they had lost everything so their businesses never fully recovered. Many of the villagers worked as fishing laborers for middlemen who came from elsewhere and bought their fish for a small price to resell in other areas.
RSWR previously supported this group with a grant in January 2016. Since that time, life in the village has been much better. The women have husbands who fish or they buy fish from local fishermen and then smoke it and carry it to markets in Liberia for sale. The women have more than doubled their income and almost all of them were able to repay their loans. The success of the first project sparked interest in women from nearby areas and soon the organization had more requests for loans than they could handle. Therefore, they have applied for and received another RSWR grant to assist a new group of women in another village.
For this new project, each beneficiary will receive a loan of $109 to do fish mongering. They expect to net $36 per month after expenses, repayment and savings.
Society for Women Empowerment
Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh, India
SWE is a woman-headed NGO that works for women empowerment and economic development as well as education and health. They have completed two projects in partnership with RSWR and so far have supported 160 women. This new project will be undertaken in a new village adjacent to where the previous projects are located. The women in this village have seen the previous projects and have requested a similar project for themselves.
80% of the people in the target area depend on agriculture for their livelihood. However, they can only get employment for 80 to 120 days a year. During the lean times when there are no jobs, the people migrate in search of work. When the women migrate with the men, the children and old people are often left in the villages without proper care. The purpose of this project is to provide an income source during the lean times in agriculture so that the women will not need to migrate.
Dairy is a part-time activity and can easily be integrated into the women’s lives so that they can do agricultural work when it is available and take care of their cows at the same time. After repaying their loans, the women will have the opportunity to take a second loan to buy another cow. In addition, the first cow will have a calf through a free government insemination program. In this way, each woman could own three cows within a year’s time. The women will be required to buy insurance on their cows. The milk will be sold to a government processing unit, so marketing will not be a problem.
Cows cost almost $300. The women will borrow $210 from the RSWR fund and they will contribute $90 from their own savings. They expect a net income of $90 per month after expenses, repayment and savings.
Butunde Village Friends Women Group
Beneficiaries: 20 Quaker women
Projects: Poultry, Buying and selling of beans and groundnuts
These women are members of Friends Church Butunde of Chwele Yearly Meeting. They formed this group to reduce poverty and unemployment and improve food security and health among their members and in the larger community.
The women currently save KES.200 ($2) per month in their group which is used to give small loans to members to engage in small personal income-generating projects. This practice will continue and the money will become “shares” which will earn the members dividends. The shares will act as security for the women’s loans from the group fund. The women will be able to withdraw their shares if they leave the group.
For the RSWR project, the women have chosen the two projects listed because they have a good market in the local community and will bring a good income. The women will divide themselves into two sub-groups with 10 women in each group and will share the profits equally within their group.
Butunde women have been trained by officers from the Department of Social Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and by the One Acre Fund. The RSWR Field Representative was very impressed with the unity of the group, their capable leadership and their detailed record-keeping.
The women will borrow $164 to $200 depending on their business. They expect to net $105 to $130 per month after expenses, repayment and savings.
Peoples Action Against Hunger Sierra Leone
Bo, Southern Province, Sierra Leone
Beneficiaries: 36 poor rural women
Projects: Agricultural buying and resale
PAAHSL was begun in 2004 after the civil war. It was started to help women farmers increase their production to help alleviate poverty. Today, the project has 300 members. All of the members have been trained and have been supplied with minimal working tools. 30 women were supported by an RSWR project which ended on June 30, 2016. This project was very successful in that it more than doubled the women’s income and most of the women were able to repay their loans (8 are still repaying). The repaid funds have been revolved to new women. However, with 300 members, the organization is asking for another grant to support more women.
This project will supply the beneficiaries with start-up funds to buy agricultural products from farmers within the community and resell them. They will also continue to work on their own farms and try to increase their productivity. The women will each receive a loan of $109. They expect a net income of $45 per month after expenses, repayment and savings.
Society for Women Education and Economic Thrust
Dindigul District, Tamil Nadu, India
Beneficiaries: 50 women – half are widows and half are women living with HIV/AIDS
Projects: Vegetable vending, Rice flour vending, Tailoring, Petty shops, Flower vending
SWEET is working for the development of widows, single women and HIV/AIDS affected women and their families. They successfully completed a project in partnership with RSWR in 2015. The revolving fund from that project has reached 43 total beneficiaries and is continuing to revolve. They conduct skill trainings for women and awareness programs on the prevention of HIV/AIDS and assist the children of affected families.
This project will help two groups of Dalit and tribal women who suffer economically and socially in the society. One group is widows. If a woman’s husband dies, she is not allowed to ever marry again. She must essentially be “in mourning” forever. She cannot wear colored clothing or wear any jewelry or adornment. She cannot eat “delicious” food (meat) because it will be said she has forgotten her demised husband and is enjoying herself. She cannot take part in village celebrations. She is considered bad luck and no one wants her around. If she violates any of these “rules”, she is punished with a societal boycott – nobody will speak to her and local shopkeepers will refuse to sell her any goods.
Another group that is ostracized by society is women who are living with HIV/AIDS. Although most contracted the disease from their husbands, that doesn’t matter. They are considered to be sinful people and are rejected by their families and friends. Additionally, many are made physically weak by their disease and so they cannot do the hard manual labor required of most jobs in agriculture or construction where Dalit and tribal people generally work.
The beneficiaries will be assisted in choosing a trade that is suitable for their situation. They will then be trained for two days on project implementation, maintaining accounts, and marketing skills. They will be loaned $75 to $112 depending on the business they choose. They expect to net $59 to $210 per month after expenses, repayment and savings.
Wenyange Women Group
Beneficiaries: 20 women who do business at a common market
Projects: Omena (small dried fish), Cereals, Tomatoes
This is a group of women who do business at a common market. They formed this group in 2014 to set up a table-banking system so that they could have a source of loans to augment their businesses. Each member contributes KES.200 ($2) per month and members take business loans from this pool. They also work together against discrimination against women and girls. The members belong to different denominations, including: Pentecostal Assemblies of God, Anglican Church of Kenya, African Divine Church, Quakers, African Israel Nineveh Church, and the Salvation Army.
The community where these women live has many problems including poverty, high unemployment, food insecurity, illiteracy among women and youth, and poor health standards. The women and their families also suffer from the ills of their community. The table-banking system does not give them enough capital to create a sustainable business.
The women have arranged several trainings in business for themselves from Kenya Women Finance, the Kenyan Department of Gender and Social Services, and Equity Bank staff.
For the RSWR project, they will work together in 3 groups and will share the profits equally within their group. They chose these projects because they have a good market locally. 6 women will engage in omena (small dried fish) selling, 6 women will sell maize and beans, and 8 women will buy and sell tomatoes. They will borrow $181 to $247. They expect to net $102 to $115 each month after expenses, repayment and savings.
After receiving the RSWR funds, their monthly contributions of KES.200 will continue, but they will be converted to “shares” which will become a member’s investment in the group and will earn dividends annually. The repaid monies, interest, and the share contributions will all be pooled and will become a permanent revolving loan fund. This fund will be used to give loans to members who have repaid their loans and to new members.
People’s Action Service Society
Trichy District, Tamil Nadu, India
Projects: Pottery products, Banana fiber rope making, Banana vending, Banana leaf vending
PASS is a woman-headed NGO. Current activities include: promotion of education for children and especially for girls, skill development and vocational training for adolescents, tailoring training and job placement, and awareness programs on the environment, organic farming and health issues.
This project has been created with the input the beneficiaries. Some of the women are from families that traditionally make pottery. For many years, pottery sales dropped off because everyone wanted plastic products. But now the pots are popular again and so there is a good market for them. The women from the potter families would like to engage in their traditional occupation. Other women have chosen to make and sell banana-based products since there are many banana plantations in the area and so raw materials are plentiful.
The women will first be trained for 3 days on marketing methods and then they will receive loans of $97 to $163 depending on which business they choose. They expect to net $96 to $177 per month after expenses, repayment and savings.
West Sabatia Women Group
Beneficiaries: 20 women who do business at a common market
Projects: Poultry and Fireless cookers
This is a group of women who do business at a common market. They formed this group in May of 2015 to set up a table- banking system so that they could have a source of loans to augment their businesses. Each member contributes KES.200 ($2) per month and members take business loans from this pool.
The members of WSWG belong to different denominations – some are Quaker but not all. The women and their families suffer from poverty and the other ills of their community, including food insecurity, poor healthcare, low literacy rates and high unemployment. They say, “The situation is no different from the rest of the community members, especially among women and youths”.
For the RSWR project, the women will work together in two groups of ten women each and they will share the profits equally within their groups. One group will raise chickens and the other group will make and sell “fireless cookers”.
The women have already received training on both of these businesses. They received several trainings on different issues in poultry production from the Kenyan department of livestock production. A German NGO called GIZ has recently educated the community about the need to minimize firewood use and introduced the fireless cookers. The WSWG women learned how to make these cookers and have had an enthusiastic demand for them from the community.
A business training from Care International introduced the women to the concept of e-recording whereby borrowing, loan repayment and savings are transacted via their mobile phones so that each woman is able to tell how much she has borrowed, when she is supposed to repay the loan, the interest due, and how much she has saved. It is a distinct advantage to this group.
The women will borrow $154 to $201 and expect to net $94 th $169 per month after expenses, repayment and savings.
Bonthe District, Southern Province, Sierra Leone
Beneficiaries: 40 poor young rural women
Projects: Buying and selling of fish and vegetables
Graced Team focuses on providing primary education and economic development projects for villages in poor, rural areas of Sierra Leone that are not reached by government programs or larger NGOs. They have completed one project in partnership with RSWR. They report that that project is going well and the women’s income has been greatly increased. The loans are being repaid and revolved slowly, but they are making progress. So far, they have given loans to 10 additional women beyond the initial 30 women.
This new project will focus on a different village in the Bonthe District. Bonthe is a poverty-stricken district where women are the bread winners in most families and they work very hard to provide food for their families and to send their children to school. They cannot afford health care and are unprepared financially for any emergencies. The initial beneficiaries will be between 20 and 40 years old. The women have already been formed into groups and elected leaders. They have heard of the earlier RSWR project and are excited to begin one in their own village.
This project will supply the beneficiaries with start-up funds to buy fish from the fishermen in their community for sale in the urban towns in the Bonthe district. In addition, they will grow and market vegetables in the urban towns. Graced Team will help by making arrangements with local wholesale fishermen and insuring the women have land to grow their vegetables. They will also help the women with the marketing of their products.
The women will each receive a loan of $113. They expect to net $77 per month after expenses, repayment and savings.
Vasantham Pengal Sangam
Trichirappalli District, Tamil Nadu, India
Projects: Thatch making, Cover sheets, Coir rope, Flower vending
The leader of VPS is from the Dalit community. The organization works to promote and strengthen women self help groups in the rural areas. They run 2 evening tuition centers for poor school children, work with Dalit women and children for their rights, provide food for the poor elderly, and run awareness programs on the environment, organic farming, water and sanitation. VPS implemented a project in partnership with RSWR in 2015. So far, that project has reached 39 new women in addition to the 24 original beneficiaries.
This project will take place in a neighboring village at the request of the women in that village who have seen the results of the first RSWR project. The beneficiaries are poor, Dalit, women with children who have no male support. They used to work in agriculture but now jobs in the agricultural sector are shrinking and they can’t get enough work.
The beneficiaries will first receive a two-day orientation on project objectives and the formation of their own revolving fund management committee. The women doing thatch making will also have 4 days of skill training on that trade. They will then be given loans ranging from $120 to $165 to begin their businesses. They expect to net $74 to $131 per month, after expenses, repayment and savings.
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