Skye Nolan

Skye Nolan

My Career   I am currently working at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre as a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Department of Radiation Oncology. Working closely with doctors, nurses and patients, I coordinate a range of clinical trials aimed at improving outcomes for oncology patients by improving treatments. Prior to commencing at Peter Mac, I was working as […]

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Self-Help Groups: Uniting and Empowering Women

Self-Help Groups: Uniting and Empowering Women

By on January 24, 2014 in CRHP Jamkhed with 1 Comment

The last few days have focused on learning about the history and philosophies of CRHP and various programmes which run in the project villages. Most of this learning has been in the classroom, but has been delivered by a range of people involved with CRHP. One session focused on the socio-cultural context in which CRHP operates and touched on issues such as the caste system and gender inequality.

One thing that has really stood out to me about CRHP is that the all the people involve seem to share the same values and beliefs which create the philosophies on which the CRHP is based.

In India, discrimination against women is a major social issue. Dr Raj Arole, one of the founders of CRHP, often used to say that this discrimination is a cancer in India and that unless it is removed, the country will not be able to progress.

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Savings and Loans members can borrow a sum of money which many women use for micro-enterprise

Empowering Women Through Self-Help

One of the programmes facilitated by CRHP in project villages is the Self-Help Group for women. These groups are designed to unite and empower women thereby reducing gender inequality. Yesterday morning, we were visited by two women who are involved in facilitating these women’s groups and learnt about how the groups are formed, how they function and what opportunities they give members, such as income-generation.

Encouraging Micro-enterprise and independence

The groups act as a savings and loans collective from which members can borrow a sum of money which many women use for micro-enterprise. At the end of our classroom session, we took a short walk outside the campus and were lucky enough to meet some of these women.

One woman owned a tea shop that was across the road from a general store owned by another woman. Both were very successful and provided extra income for their families as well as giving the women independence.

Down the street lived a woman who had previously been a labourer in a brick factory, but now lives in large house which she bought with money from a brick factory which she owns and employs six people. Another woman used a loan to purchase some chickens and started a business selling eggs.

As the women begin to contribute towards the family income, they earn respect from their husbands and become more valued in their households.

Of course, these women face many challenges. We all know social change does not happen overnight. But here at CRHP, I have seen that with commitment and persistence change really can happen.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
Lao-Tzu, Chinese philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)

In a country where gender discrimination is such a pressing social issue, it is inspiring to see first-hand communities where women are empowered and change has really occurred.

1 Reader Comment

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  1. Louise says:

    That is a great quote!

    Sounds like you are meeting some really amazing people.

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