February 09, 2021: A five-year long women empowerment and livelihood intervention from SOS Children’s Villages of India tripled the monthly income and the social status of several Extremely Backward Caste and Scheduled Caste women of Kamruddinpur, a village in Begusarai District of Bihar. The case story titled, ‘Empowering women leads to economic development - Alleviating poverty through collective effort’capturing this outcome has been adjudged among the top 10 livelihood development case stories in India by the prestigious ‘Sitaram Rao Livelihoods India Case Study Competition 2021’, a national-level initiative to collate the best models of livelihoods’ promotion in the country.
Conceived under the SOS Children’s Villages’ flagship Family Strengthening Programme, a community outreach model to build capacity of vulnerable families in order to uphold qualitychildcare for their children, the Kamruddinpur project consisted of providing livelihood training, forming self-help group (christened as Dhanwanti), and facilitating the reach of welfare schemes of the government to the villagers.
The highlights of the programme were: increase in the monthly income of women from Rs 2,500-Rs 3,000 in 2013, prior to the launch of the programme, to Rs. 9,700 at present; access to microcredit at low interest; improved social participation and recognition; access to various welfare schemes from the Central and State governments, and better nutrition and education of children, who belong to these families, among others.
Commenting about the recognition of the Kamruddinpur case story, Mr. Sumanta Kar, Senior National Deputy Director, SOS Children’s Villages of India, said, “It gives us immense satisfaction to know that impact of our intervention in Begusarai,as part of the Family Strengthening Programme is getting recognized as one of the top 10 case stories in developing livelihood opportunities for the vulnerable communities. Since our programme is something that can - and should - be replicated in many disadvantaged communities in the country. I hope the case story inspires civil society, government and the private sector for coming together to transform lives of weaker sections of the society by strengthening the smallest unit- family through empowering women as primary caregivers and preventing their children from losing parental care.”
He said that the beneficiaries were illiterate women from the Below Poverty Line families living in a village known for its feudalist ideology and patriarchal dominance, and more importantly their children, who were deprived of quality careand upbringing.We believe that empowering women in households heralds quality childcare and upbringing for their children and hence we work towards their upliftment.
These women were working in agriculture farms for meager daily wages. Our intervention involved training them to gain basic literacy and awareness. We organised activities for them to open up and discuss their issues and challenges. These interactions enabled them to learn the importance of savings, education, health, hygiene, and nutrition of their children. It also led to the formation of the Dhanwanti Self Help Group in 2013 with 13 women who chipped in Rs 50 each. SOS Children’s Villages made a small contribution bycreating a fund that can be used for extending microcredit to the members of the SHG at a low rate of interest. Within about a year and a half, the corpus of the revolving fund increased enough to fund income-generating activities such as cow rearing.
“We trained them in bookkeeping, maintaining ledger and other ways of managing finance on one hand, and in communication and conflict management on the other hand. On the livelihood front, the women enhanced their understanding of raising livestock, an area they already had some amount of exposure. But more importantly, they were taught how to assess the fat content of the milk, and how to fix price based on fat content. We also facilitated market linkages for selling their milk. All these sustained efforts on women empowerment and livelihood training helped them more than triple their monthly income - from Rs 2,500- Rs 3,000 in 2013 to Rs.8,000 - Rs 10,000 today. Thanks to the regular inter-loaning and prompt repayment, the corpus of their SHG has increased to Rs 2.66 lakhs now - from about Rs. 650 in 2013.”
The SHG is currently linked with National Urban Livelihood Mission, and the members now make use of various social security schemes such as Rajiv Gandhi Urban Electrification Scheme, Swachh Bharat Mission and UjjawalaYojna that improve the overall living conditions of their families.
He further added, “SOS CV India we will be supporting 8000 more children under this programme in 2021 and the caregivers will be getting support for various Income Generating activities. This will help many families, who have lost livelihood due to COVID-19 to build sustainable livelihoods and prevent abandonment of children.”
About SOS Children’s Villages of India
For the last 56 years, SOS Children’s Villages of India has been protecting the best interests of children who are without parental care or at the risk of losing one. It provides them a loving home, helps keep their families together, and supports the youth on their path to self-reliance. Since the inauguration of the first SOS Children’s Village at Faridabad by in 1964, the organisation has spread across the country. Today, over 7,000 children live in 440 family homes inside 32 SOS Villages in 22 states/UTs, from Srinagar to Kochi and Bhuj to Shillong. They are lovingly cared for and nurtured by 600 SOS Mothers and Aunts.
As India’s largest self-implementing childcare NGO, SOS Children’s Villages directly touches the lives of around 25,000 children every year. Additionally it indirectly benefits another thousands of vulnerable children every year through a range of innovative and comprehensive childcare solutions to ensure that no child of any age grows up alone. The interventions range from short term (of a few months) to long term after-care programmes (till the children are 23 years old and self-reliant). These are carefully customised for each child to perfectly suit his or her needs.
SOS Children’s Villages’ “Family Like Care” programme is a curative model that provides loving homes in one of its Children’s Villages to children without parental care. Its “Family Strengthening Programme” is a preventive model that intervenes in vulnerable families (widows, single mothers, below poverty line, etc.) living in vicinity of Children’s Villages for preventing ‘at risk’ children from losing parental care. This is done by upholding their family income through women empowerment, awareness generation and capacity building.
SOS Children’s Villages of India has always moved deftly to answer the call of the children in need in many natural and man-made disasters. It also advocates for influencing stakeholders as well as inform public opinion on policies and legislation concerning the rights of millions of children and young people, who are deprived of quality care.
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For more information, please visit https://www.soschildrensvillages.in