The Best of Days India

Kelley Chisholm (Western Australia Representative) and Peta Thomas (Project Officer & Manager Cambodia) recently joined our representatives for India, M.V. and Leena Thomas, monitoring Global Development Group projects in southern India. Experience India together with our team right here on our blog . . .

Our team visited project J544N ‘Enterprise India’, headed by long-time project manager Pradeep Kumar. Enterprise India is a women’s micro-enterprise project that has set up and trained women in 75 self-help groups. The aim of the project is to build the capacity of the poor in the local community to sustain and provide for their own future. The impact of the project however, extends beyond the tangible—to transform the women, their families, and their communities.

Kelley describes a scene from that visit and shares one example of the deep impact this project is having for a family they met:

Today we are in Chennai, India. We meet Kumar and he takes us to meet with groups of women who participate in the self-help groups this project facilitates.

 We sit with the women in their small shops, on their kitchen floors, and we walk down the streets of their community. They tell us fabulous stories of changed lives, new businesses, growing community respect and deep friendship. We hold our breath…their stories are magical.

 Then Salome arrives. She’s this self-help group leader’s daughter. Salome is 17 years old, she attends college and is getting an education, an opportunity that her mother never had. Salome heard that we’ve come to her home to meet her mother. We are introduced. She smiles at us. Then she moves to stand by her mum. They put their arms around each other and the daughter looks at her mum like she’s the most amazing woman in the world. And she is. There is no shame in their poverty, just tangible love and respect.

Development is not just community infrastructure, it’s not just programs. Real development develops people. That’s exactly what we’ve seen here and what is changing lives in Chennai, India.