October 17, 2011
The women of the PWRDF-supported business group in Patchiapuram, India got to take their first ever vacation paid for entirely by themselves. They used some of the proceeds from their self-help group to visit a local waterfall without having to talk to any of the men in the village about getting help for the trip.
Thanks to the support of the Churches’ Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA), a PWRDF partner working in the region, the women have built up their own business group as they support each other in making charcoal, palm leaf boxes, palm fans, candy, and other products. The freedom that running their own businesses has given them shows in their confidence, and the excitement with which they talk about their trip.
Patchiapuram is a village with its share of problems. There are very few fish to be caught since the tsunami. Large companies own all the nearby land and are using it as salt pans, resulting in deforestation and the local water sources becoming salinated. Villagers are petitioning the local government for street lights and a better water system, but haven’t had success yet.
But the women are pleased to discuss the successes they have hadÃ¢â‚¬”their group consists of tailors, artisans, and charcoal makers. They support a children’s club which teaches the children about disaster awareness and ecological issues including alternative energy sources like solar and wind power. They are working to rehabilitate the land and have ensured that every household has at least two fruit trees to provide food and soil retention.