Kodaikanal: The NGO ‘India Nirman Sangh’ (INS), which began work in 2004, has spread its wings in around 10 villages near Kodaikanal and all around Palani hills. The principal focus was to form groups among ordinary, poor people in rural areas as well as in urban slums and to make operating groups that handle tailoring and carpentry workshops to allow women to find their way of becoming self-reliant.
About 6,000 members have come to work independently under the horizon of the sangh’s patronage. A self-help group generally consists of 15 people and the sangh concerns itself with being a supporting pillar for financially backward people to help them become self-dependent and self-reliant. Visiting a village and finding at least 15 people who are really interested to work in a group and facilitating them with small loans for their business or to build an independent set-up to earn money employing their skills are supervised by field workers of the organisation.
Forming small groups and helping them with microfinance (covering more than `25 crore of microloans - such as getting the members small loans or even loans from Nabarad - and teaching them the saving habit each and every week until they repay the loans on time by peer pressure from other members of the group are all activities of the organisation. The role of the NGO is to make the people in the groups repay loans on time and achieve self-sustaining ways.
Some of the women groups found workplace in carpentry. Pushpa, who has been a trainer at the tailoring workshop supervising around 15 women, says, “I came to know about the NGO six months ago and joined the workshop. And I feel it's quite fulfilling.” Like Pushpa, Rita, Saraswati, thousands of women self-help community members found ways of sustainable living supporting their children after going through their own struggles.
Additionally 8 field workers are there for mentoring the groups - each of them looking after the groups, having frequent group meetings, and also discussing and trying to help them about other issues relating to either water supply or panchayat. Chitra, who is leading a group at Palani, takes care of women groups formed in that area. Almost 600 members in several groups have established themselves either producing low-cost napkins or running own business independently and happily.