'Riding' high on economically empowering villages

'Riding' high on economically empowering villages

TVS Motor adopts 4 dists to empower women, transform communities

Until a decade ago, Farzana’s identity was that of a housewife and a mother of two children but a chance meeting with Srinivasan Services Trust (SST) members transformed her into a successful self-help group (SHG) entrepreneur who now runs a shop near her house in her native Kadkola in Nanjangud taluk.

SST staffers persuaded Farzana to join Laxmi Mahila Self Help Group in 2006. “After saving small amounts and learning about transactions in SHG and also in the bank, I grew confident. I started a petty shop near my house with a loan from the SHG. I later availed a loan from a bank and started the shop in a better set up. I now make a business of nearly Rs 1,000 per day and earn a profit of around Rs 300,” she said.

Farzana’s success story is one among many spun around by SST of the TVS Motor Company which has been working relentlessly towards the comprehensive development of villages adopted by it in four districts of Karnataka, said retired DCF and field director of SST Anand Gowda.

Gowda told reporters here on Tuesday that SST has been instrumental in creating 2,383 self help groups (SHG). He said the Trust had been concentrating on five key areas of economic development, education, health, environment, infrastructure and social development.

“Thanks to the intervention of SST, more than 54,000 families are able to earn more than Rs 15,000 per month. SST is headquartered in Sinduvalli and functions in 356 villages in Nanjangud and Mysuru taluks where TVS has a production unit. It has also adopted some villages in Chamarajanagar taluk, Anekal taluk of Bengaluru Urban district and Hoskote taluk of Bengaluru Rural district. SST’s vision is to be a partner in transformation of rural communities and urban slums by empowering people to achieve sustainable development,” he said.

“In the field of education, SST has been instrumental in supporting the working of 708 anganwadis with 100% enrolment. SST has taken up activities to improve the quality of education and infrastructure in 45 high schools. It has built five midday meal kitchens and has constructed and improved 91 toilets in these schools. SST works towards improving the quality of education by motivating teachers. Audio-visual methods are used and special coaching is provided for slow learners. Besides, career guidance programmes and vocational skills training is also given to students. Adult literacy programmes are also under progress,” Gowda said.

“SST works towards promoting cleaner villages and conservation of natural resources. It has helped develop several soak pits and drains and encourages women to have kitchen gardens. The kitchen gardens in anganwadis are used to provide nutritious meals to children. SST has facilitated construction of 27,613 individual toilets. About 60% of the streets are cleaned periodically in the SST adopted villages,” he said.

“Trees have been planted on community lands (2,01,500 trees) and on farmlands (56,000 trees). SST has undertaken several watershed development programmes and has initiated steps for conversion of uncultivable land for cultivation. SST has focused on reduction in infant and maternal mortality rate, prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases. It liaisons with the government to implement health-care schemes to conduct health camps and awareness programmes,” Gowda said.

“SST is active in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh covering 5,015 villages. The trust aims to make people independent and drivers of change. The idea is to transform individual beneficiaries into community leaders, who in turn motivate and guide others to bring about social and economic transformation of communities,” Gowda said.