Assisi Aid Projects Annual Report 2016 - Page 5

Stories of change India In 2015-2016 Assisi supported two projects in Tamil Nadu, to strengthen people’s own capacity to establish, operate and manage their own development initiatives. Support for single women headed families In India, widows, divorcees and single women are frequently subjected to discrimination, impacting on their psychological state, dignity, self-esteem and physical health. Deprived of equal opportunities to participate in daily life, many face isolation and poverty. Assisi has now set up 28 Women’s Support Groups with a total of 850 members. The groups provide a supportive environment for women to connect, build confidence and participate in livelihood, finance and business trainings. Income generation training includes animal raising, organic farming, food production, tailoring, candle making, setting up small shops and access to microcredit and rolling loans. Home visits, and group counselling sessions aim to restore women’s self confidence and include awareness of human rights and gender equality. Since joining the Women’s Support Groups, many women now have access to an income, which has led to improved health, self confidence and status in the community. The program has also set up 30 savings groups for 557 women and 16 village level development groups with 201 members, including 45 men. The Assisi self help group approach builds locally-led support structures for long-term sustainable development. Education for disadvantaged children The children’s project continues to improve education for 1031 children through 23 tuition classes and 29 children’s parliaments groups. Children aged 8-16, attended evening study groups, strengthening skills in language, maths and science as well as learning important life-skills such as leadership, child rights, gender equality, health, hygiene and protecting the environment. Pictured: The project has set up a Legal Aid Centre in Lalgudi village to provide free legal advice for women and also raise awareness of women’s rights. This year the project has introduced education materials, which use a participatory and active learning approach. The Eureka toolkit includes picture cards and maths games and have been most popular with the children and their parents. 20 parents groups continued to meet monthly with 251 members. During meetings the groups discussed child health and the importance of education. ❁ 5