Women's Empowerment

The rural communities surrounding the Kadavakurichi Reserved Forest are some of the more traditional in India. The traditional values and patriarchal system are deeply ingrained in the society and as a result women women face challanges such as limited education and lower social and economic standing. CIRHEP is actively engaged in various projects that promote rural development and is committed to addressing these challenges and working towards uplifting the women in the communities to uplift society at large.

Women’s self-help group

One of the CIRHEP activities to combat this backwardness in the status of the women in the area is the introduction of the women’s self-help groups (SHG) to the communities in the local area. Trough the women’s SHG CIRHEP has for the last 20 years introduced microcredit and provided linkage between rural women and the banks. The self-help groups encourage women to save money monthly together and the microcredits and bank-linkage gives the women the possibility to both take out, and repay, bank loans for agriculture, land-purchase, buying milch animals and other income generating activities. This financial support has empowered women to engage in economic activities, enhancing both their economic independence and social standing. Through the women’s SHG the women are also able to borrow money from the group for personal needs such as medical emergencies or paying for their children’s education.


Women's self-help group and milk society in Seethapuram

Training &capacity building

CIRHEP’s vision with the SHG is not only to make the women economically independent but also to be a part of the society and the family decision making on the same terms as the men. Thus, CIRHEP also conduct training and capacity building programs. These programs aim to provide women with the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to enhance their social and economic status. CIRHEP has for the last 20 years trained women in entrepreneurship and income-generating skills such as handicraft, honey processing and cultivation. The women are also trained in accountancy and book-keeping allowing the women’s SHG to operate independently and sustainably.Another important aspect of capacity building is the awareness programs CIRHEP is conducting where the women gain knowledge about women’s rights, health and education which empowers them to assert their rights and challenge gender-based inequalities. CIRHEP women empowerment programs also give the women a network, where the women can share knowledge, support each others empowerment and get a sense of belonging outside of the home.

A women SHG making flower garlands to sell at the market

Income-generating activities

CIRHEP also train women in skills neccessary for various income- generation activities such as flower cultivation and garland making.Through the training, women can learn about organic flower cultivation, making the garlands an where to sell.They also gain insights into market demand, pricing strategies, and financial management such as book- keeping to ensure the profitability of their businesses. With access to resources and networks, they can establish flourishing enterprises, contribute to the local economy, and showcase the beauty of their floral creations in various cultural and celebratory events. This not only helps women gain financial independency but is also a way for a woman to take part of the society leaving the confinments of the home.

All CIRHEP activities regarding womens empowerment:

Formation of self-help groups Promoting the habit of thrift and credit Training & capacity building Training on micro credit , book keeping and accountancy.Credit linkage with banks Savings and internal lending among the members.Promotion of income generation activities: Milch animals, garland making, keeping petty shops etc….

Linking with commercial banks

Meet Nagammal, the president of the local Women’s Self-Help Group (SHG) in Seethapuram village. Prior to the establishment of the group seven years ago, the women in the village solely worked on their farms and rarely went outside their village. Inspired by the success stories of other SHGs, they approached CIRHEP workers Chinnathambi and Chandra for assistance in starting their own group. At the time, the women faced financial difficulties and had limited income from their agricultural activities.With the guidance, skill training and support from Chinnathambi and Chandra, the women initiated a savings scheme within their SHG. Each member now contributes regularly,pooling their resources together. The group has a milk society in which each member owns 3-4 milch animals, from which they milk 15 liters every morning and evening. The milk is then sold at a rate of 40 rupees per liter. To prevent any wastage, the remaining milk is stored in a shared chilling unit and sold to distributors in larger cities. The SHG, consisting of 11 members, got bank together, which they successfully repaid with their incomes from their milk. With the additional funds, they invested in purchasing more milch animals to increase their income-generating potential. The group also has a common savings fund that members can use for personal purposes, such as medical emergencies, children’s education expenses, and agricultural needs.Through their collective efforts and financial stability, the women in the SHG have experienced an uplift in their economic status and overall empowerment. They have become self-reliant, generating income from their dairy activities and utilizing their


20 years ago

  • Lack of financial resources
  • Isolation and limited
  • opportunities
  • Absence of financial
  • knowledge 
  • Limited social and economic mobility:

Activities applied

  • Formation of self- help groups
  • Training &
  • capacity building
  • Credit linkage with banks
  • Promotion of income
  • generation activities


  • Economic empowerment
  • Financial literacy and capacity building
  • Social inclusion and support
  • Increased social standing and decision-making power

Women's empowerment ACHIEVMENTS

During the last 20 years

  • Economic Empowerment: Through the introduction of women’s self-help groups (SHGs), microcredit and linking women with banks and access to loans, CIRHEP has empowered women to invest in agriculture, purchase land, acquire milch animals, etc. This has enhanced their economic independence and improved their social standing.
  • Financial Sustainability: Through training in accountancy and bookkeeping, the women’s SHGs have become self-sustaining and capable of operating independently, ensuring the continued success and sustainability of their activities.
  • Entrepreneurship and Skill Development: CIRHEP’s training programs have equipped women with entrepreneurship and income-generating skills such as handicraft making, honey processing,flower cultivation, and garland making. As a result, women have been able to contribute to the localeconomy and participate actively in the society beyond their homes.
  • Women’s Rights and Awareness: CIRHEP’s awareness programs has also educated women about their rights, health, and education. By empowering women with knowledge, these programs have encouraged women to assert their rights, challenge gender-based inequalities, andbecome advocates for change in their communities.
  • Social Network and Support: Through participation in the women’s SHGs and capacity-building programs, women have gained a supportive network where they can share knowledge and support each other’s empowerment.

In summary CIRHEP’s dedicated efforts have empowered women in rural communities surrounding the Kadavakurichi Reserved Forest. Through self-help groups, access to credit, and skills training, women have gained economic independence, elevated their social standing, and contributed to the local economy. Awareness programs on women’s rights have sparked transformative change, enabling women to challenge gender-based inequities and become advocates for progress.CIRHEP’s holistic approach has helped to create a more inclusive society where women actively participate in decision- making, driving positive transformations in their lives and communities.