115 Self-help Groups (SHGs) enabled people of villages of Saurashtra region save Rs 17 lakh cumulatively.

GHCL’s CSR arm, GHCL Foundation has been relentlessly working towards uplifting communities in the vicinity of its manufacturing facilities in Gujarat

Ahmedabad (Gujarat): As a socially conscious and responsible organization, GHCL’s CSR arm, GHCL Foundation has been relentlessly working towards uplifting communities in the vicinity of its manufacturing facilities in Gujarat by forming self-help groups (SHGs). In a major leap towards facilitating the financial inclusion of villagers, some 115 SHGs have been formed in the microfinance sector alone across some 34 villages of Gujarat. Since their establishment in 2014-15, villagers have been able to save Rs 17 lakh cumulatively over the years.

Financial assistance for various needs is a major concern for villagers. Regular bank loans from nationalised and cooperative banks were available to villagers however, both financial inclusions, as well as literacy, were a challenge due to a lack of awareness.  Therefore, microfinance was a key sector where SHG formation gained momentum.

Sutrapada, Lati, Kadwar, Nakhada, Bij, Zala Vadodara, Alidra, Sutrapada Bandar, Savani, Ratidhar, Mohobatpara, and Bavani Vav, among others, are the villages of Gir Somnath where we have major beneficiaries.

Over time, the total disbursement stands at Rs 2.30 lakh of the cumulative saving of Rs 17 lakh. Over the years at least 1,100 women SHG members are now involved in the process of running these SHGs and getting villagers into the habit of saving which was amiss before.

Villagers borrow money for various reasons ranging from income generation, emergency needs, household needs, and even education. Such initiatives to ensure skill development, and promote entrepreneurship and self-reliance with microfinance, bring the villagers under the ambit of the formal economy. As of today,115 SHGs out of a total of 154 are working in areas of education, skill development, women empowerment, and animal husbandry, among others, besides microfinance.

The staff from GHCL Foundation visits the villages and interacts with women to identify common interest groups to form SHGs. Based on the direct requirements in given villages, SHGs are formed, and it is ensured they eventually operate independently. These SHGs create and provide movable and immovable resources that can generate monetary gains, support their members, impart training, and generate opportunities to make use of acquired skills.

To encourage operational efficiency among these village-based SHGs, GHCL Foundation has also walked a mile ahead by incentivizing well-performing SHGs. GHCL Foundation gave a grant of Rs 25,000 each to some 16 well-performing SHGs for micro-enterprise activities. The various groups are engaged in income-generation activities like running cattle-feed centers, making cotton wicks (Divet), and trading textiles and handicrafts.

Encouraging women of the village to run SHGs is one of the aims of the GHCL Foundation. By far, the GHCL Foundation trust has some 1,633 women members across 154 SHGs in 34 villages. The Foundation aims to cover 45 more villages by the end of FY 2023. By far some 869 women have been trained for enterprise activities in FY 2023 (till date) whereas 22 women-run micro-enterprises and are generating income for themselves, their families, and other women associated with the group.