Empowerment of Women is another important activity of the Society. We promote women Self Help Groups (SHG) in rural, organize regular meetings to understand their role in both family and in society, initiate thrift and credit programs and make them participate in special projects for economic upliftment and self-reliant.
We realized that the Unity is the Strength. We started organize women Self Help Groups for strengthening their overall development. So far there are 760 SHGs functioning under SEEDS operational area. They have been facilitated for establishing linkages with banks and other financial institutions. Further they are made understand the different functions of various departments under the Government pertaining to their socio-economic and cultural welfare.
Micro Credit for Small Business
Under this programme, SEEDS facilitate credit assistance to promote various livelihood business activities as below by the women themselves.
- Vegetable cultivation
- Petty Shops
- Vegetable Vendors
- Tiffin Centre
- Readymade Garments
- Goat and Poultry
- Milch Animal
Women started gain better knowledge and experience in Family budgeting. Their children are progressing well in education and many of them entered in to higher education. While the practice of Child Labor is stopped the influence of money lenders is reduced. Participation of women in social activities and the Grama Sabha meeting has been increased. Altogether the Micro credit program has improved the quality of life by enhancing both the family and community status.
Women Artisans and Skill Upgradation
A Community based baseline survey conducted in Aruppukottai and Kariyapatti Block of Virudhunagar Districts revealed that potential women artisans who involved in hand embroidery need to be strenthened. Handicrafts constitute an important segment of the unorganized sector of our economy.
We organised 305 women artisans into 15 Self Help Groups and issed ID cards and health care coverages with the support of the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.
We started implement the handicrafts development program from the year 2012 to enhance the life of women artisans who are mainly concentrated in rural remote area. We organised Skill Development Training and Design Development Workshop to the selected participants and enhanced their knowledge and skills in the latest embroidery designs.
Originally, these women learned these techniques from their forefathers and started as a part time activity, now it has transformed in to a flourishing fulltime economic activity due to significant market demand throughout the year.
Women and Politics
A new dimension of women in politics emerged in recent years all over the world. More and more women have now been entering into politics. Conventional politics reflected male concerns and hence women were notably absent in politics.
Welfare policies had been constructed and reinforced women’s traditional position as wives and mothers. Women have struggled over issues affecting them, especially their rights to property and vote in the 19th century and to abortion, equal pay and nursery provision in the 20th century.
In India, after independence women have achieved an unprecedented political breakthrough with the reservation of seats for them in panchayats and other public bodies.
In the year 2013, SEEDS with the support of The Hunger Foundation, carried out programmes on mobilizing and capacitating the Elected Women Representatives (EWR) of Local Bodies (Panchayat Raj). The EWRs are facilitated in building their leadership, administering village panchayat, drafting perspective plan and interfacing with government officials for better mobilization of funds and other resources for their village development.
The Government of Tamil Nadu announced that 50% of reservation to women in local body election. In this context the role of SEEDS in strengthening women’s participation in politics gained momentum. The project envisaged the EWR joined together and formed federation namely “MuzhaKam” meaning raising voice used as a platform functioning at Block, District and State level for Intervening to end Violence Against Women (VAW) and influence policy making on women and decentralization of power. The project augments respect within the family as well as in the community at large besides increasing their self-esteem, confidence and decision-making ability.