India today is more than an emerging country – it’s a global power. Unfortunately, not every Indian citizen has a share in India’s economic rise and continuing growth. Extreme poverty in both rural and urban areas is still reality for a big part of the population of the world’s seventh largest economy. According to the UN report “India and the MGDs: Completing the Task” which got published in the beginning of 2015, nearly 300 million people live in extreme poverty and face deprivation in terms of access to basic services like education, health, water and sanitation. Since it’s SARD mission to facilitate access to these services, we joined the fight to reduce poverty by promoting livelihood options, in particular by the means of Self-Help Groups and Vocational Training/Skill Development.
1) Self-help groups
SARD actively works with community members to develop their economic self-sufficiency through community-based initiatives. Economic independence and maturity are important determinants of any community’s development and of any individual’s sense of self worth.
Our most frequently applied model for this purpose is the formation of self-help groups (SHGs), especially for women. In most of SARD’s project areas, women are entirely economically dependant upon their husbands, which limits their independence and sense of empowerment. Through the formation of self-help groups, SARD has been able to empower these women to generate their own income and take better control over their livelihoods and lives. In the framework of our projects, we connect these groups with local banks and government schemes, for example for the purpose of facilitating access to microfinance products.
2) Vocational Training
SARD conducts various skill enhancement courses in its programme areas, ensuring that the vocations chosen are well suited towards the needs, culture and economy of the local community. After community members are trained on a particular job, SARD’s work is not done. Our trainers continue to work with the beneficiaries to develop their entrepreneurial and marketing skills in order to give them the best chance of becoming economically self-sufficient in the future. This long-term commitment gives our projects and beneficiaries an advance in terms of sustainability. So far, SARD conducted skill enhancement for the following trades:
- Livestock management including goatery, poultry, and sheep rearing;
- Kitchen gardening and organic farming;
- Promotion of handicrafts skills such as jute (macramé), textile designing, papier-mâché, hand-made basket weaving;
- Training on technical trades including automobile mechanics, mobile repairing, plumbing and electrical training.
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