WHAT IS HELPAGE INDIA DOING
In order to decrease the socio-economic vulnerability of older persons, particularly the disadvantaged in the rural areas, HelpAge works with these elders to set up and build Elder Self-help Groups (ESHGs) into viable and sustainable groups and to facilitate their federation at local and district level.
It aids these Groups by accessing adequate doses of financing for their institution and investing in livelihoods assets like processing units, pump sets, agriculture equipment etc. It also actively strives to reach various government entitlements to the village elderly. Further, HelpAge invests in imparting knowledge and skills to local volunteers and develop them as village level para professionals working towards the institutions of poor elderly.
Stories from the Field
A reluctant start leads to financial Independence for the Elderly of Puri
Maa Gangadevi Elder Self Help Group (formed under the Support a Gran program) is a group of 16 elderly (9 actively working) formed in August 2010 in village Suninda, Nimapara block, Puri District, Odisha. The formation of the group was a result of the awareness drives like community mobilization meetings organized by HelpAge India. The group started their journey of self-reliance in a small yet significant way by each contributing a fist full of rice daily. After 6 months, HelpAge supported them through livelihoods seed capital of Rs. 13,500/- which was used to cultivate and sell cauliflower. The profit from the activity came to Rs. 9400/- which was distributed amongst them first and was additionally used to give support to 3 destitute elders in their village. The group even helped a poor family with Rs 300/- and few kgs. of rice. This is an example of how the two pronged approach of welfare and development is greatly helping to empower the disadvantaged elders in India.
From Farm Labourers to Entrepreneurs
A small step forward has led to financial empowerment for 20 women from Nathbari (Supaul), Bihar. This group was started with a monthly saving of Rs. 50/- per member by 20 women members including eight widows, all of them belonging to economically and socially backward strata of society. By end of August 2012, the group had saved Rs. 26,000/-. Interest and internal loan rotation ensured that the total financial rotation by the group was as much as Rs. 79900/- in the last 2 years.
One and a half years after the formation of the group, HelpAge supported them with a livelihoods seed capital of Rs. 20,000. It is then that they decided to do collective business and bought a Diesel Pump Set (for irrigation in agricultural land) in the month of August 2012. In two months the group had earned a total income of Rs. 7,800 and a net profit of Rs. 1,950/- by renting out the pump.
Current Program Status
Supports 5394 Elder Self Help Groups involving 71.272 senior citizens across 17 states.