The approaches of Good Shepherd are generally very community centred. Building a community structure is our main tool for social empowerment.
We believe, that a group of people is more powerful than a individual on its own. Therefore the building of community structuring groups gives village inhabitants the chance to be influential in
making changes for themselves and within their community.
GSHEC supports the formation of Self-Help-Groups in the project villages as the key structure for deciding the processes of changes. In this way, the involvement of the supported community is guaranteed from day-one and development work becomes collaboration work.
Self Help Groups (SHG)
Taking part at the Mahalir Thittam Project, Good Shepherd has helped to build over 1600 Women Self-Help-Groups (SHG) with 20147 women over the last 15 years and 50 Youth Men Groups. Each SHG includes between 12 to 15 individuals.
The implementation of its planned activities could make a reformation among the women folk as well as in their families because of its long term vision. As the term refers the movement purely focuses on rural women in the remote areas and their upliftment.
The unique feature of the SHG is its ability to inculcate among its members sound habits of thrift, savings and banking Regular savings, periodic meetings, compulsory attendance, and systematic training are the salient features of the SHG concept. Each group selects one animator and two representatives from among themselves. The animator is responsible for providing leadership to the group and to maintain the various registers. The representatives assist the animator and maintain the bank accounts of the group.
SHG women started to participate in Gramasabhas and represent their grievances in front of the local administration representatives even in front of the district collector. Trainings designed with particular modules help the women to lead a successful working pattern with advancement of knowledge. The Self-esteem of the women raised and led them to an improvement of their bargaining capacity.
Our incentive is to show them the importance of being self-independent and being versed in finding new self-employment ventures and getting financial support from Gov. authorities. It is evident in all the villages that SHG women have taken steps on the persisting issues in their villages and found solutions for the same.
People in distress
Karunai Illam is a home for abandoned women from all over India. The subsidiary of Good Shepherd is located a bit outside of Karamadai and hosts over 60 women from the age of 18 to 94. Each patient has its individual tragic life story. Lots of them lived on the streets before they came to Karunai Illam and were abandoned by their families because of abnormal behaviour. The ambition of running this home is to give food, a home and an appreciable level of live to those unfortunate women.
Good Shepherd runs a free boarding school called Clare Bhavan. Around 30 girls from the age of 7 to 17 live on the compound of Good Shepherd. Most of the girls are orphans or very poor. The goal is to ensure their schooling and a good education for their later life.
Good Shepherd has established 14 Children’s Club in the 14 villages and 221 children enrolled. The Children’s Club members are engaged in club activities plan and organize the programs. The children expose their inborn talents, skills, capacities and capabilities. They develop the competitive attitude. The clubs works for child rights initiatives and child participation by networking in the children’s forums. Every month they conduct club meetings and in each meeting they come up with relevant discussion points such as; protection of water and water sources, environmental hygiene, pollution, child labour, savings, healthy and hygienic food habit, negative impacts of junk foods, etc.
Village Development Committees (VDC)
In each project village a committee manages the entire activities of their concerned village. Through the people's participatory development programmes, a sustainable development atmosphere is created and the village inhibitors agreement with our implementation in their village is ensured. It is a decentralized institution that identifies the people in need, educates on important issues and monitors the implementation. The Committee consists of the leaders of the SHGs, village leader, Ward member, youth leaders and village animators. VDCs handle all problem crop up at that level, assist in taking up social action activities and assists in liaison with the government and other institution and conduct monthly meetings. They are powerful enough to represent the villagers by their group action before the Government authorities and make avail the benefits of government schemes immediately.