'The following blog intends to familiarize our readers with the kind of partner organisation, CMF works with. The references of these articles have been taken from the HiH annual report'.
Picture Courtesy: Hand in Hand website
Hand in Hand India (HiH) is a registered Public Charitable Trust which was formed in 2002 with the objective of alleviating poverty through job creation and integrated community development. What began as a small effort in Kancheepuram, a small town in Tamil Nadu, to eliminate child labour has now diversified to address the multidimensional factors of poverty. The organisation’s flagship intervention— Self-Help Group & Microfinance Programme has so far created 1,211,606 jobs and is moving steadily towards its goal of creating 1.3 million jobs by 2013-14. Under the stewardship of Dr. Kalpana Sankar, HiH has evolved as one of the most reputed NGOs in India.
HiH strives to make sustainable impact on the lives of deprived and those who are at the base of the pyramid through the following five pillar programme:
- Child Labour Elimination through education
- Providing access to information
- Healthcare services
- Clean environment to the poor
- Enterprise creation and access to microfinance
HiH aims to work with diverse people and culture. It is currently active in various parts of India (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Puducherry) and has also expanded in several other developing countries like Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Latin America and Cambodia.
HiH has always tried to bring innovation in the services it provides to the poor and explore different opportunities in creating sustainable impact. One such effort from HiH has been to partner with Centre for Microfiance (CMF) to study the impact of self-help groups (SHGs) on the livelihoods of rural women. This study uses a randomized control trial approach to study the impact of microfinance loans and business training provided by HiH to SHGs.
One of the outstanding achievements of HiH has been its SHG programme. So far, HiH has been able to form over 55,000 SHGs, across India. Even more impressive is the number of micro enterprises that have been added or expanded, leading to the creation of over 850,000 enterprises. The HiH - SHG programme is unique in the sense that it not only provides loans to SHGs, but also provides business training to these groups, in order to make efficient and profitable use of these loans. The business training is given in four different modules including an additional skill training which ranges from cattle-rearing training, beautician course, vegetable cultivation course, etc.
Conversations with HiH staff members has reiterated the fact that they are not just sincere and motivated employees, but are also deeply committed to the cause of alleviating poverty. The reason behind HiH’s initiatives is as Dr. Kalpana says, ‘HiH does not believe in creating parallel structures to the Government’s intervention, instead HiH will try to address the gaps in implementation and will evolve innovative models so that later the Government can scale up the proven models and mainstream it for reaching larger number of people’.
Helping the poor to uplift their lives requires a continuous and sustained effort and HiH endeavours to achieve this very goal and works on the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, ‘Before each one of us takes any decision, we must think of the poor people who will be impacted by the decision and take only those which would be of benefit to that person.’