AmritaSREE is a community based self help program, started by Mata Amritanandamayi Math in 2005, to help the victims of 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and the families of farmers who committed suicide in Maharashtra. Today, AmritaSREE has reached around 21 Indian states and helped approximately 6 lakh people directly or indirectly. The self-help groups operating under the program is based upon a formula established by Reserve Bank of India and NABARD. Please read below for more details.
How does the AmritaSREE self help program work?
People interested to participate in the program have to organize a group of 10 to 20 women or men, who should conduct regular weekly meetings for discussions and fund collection. These groups or individuals in the groups can start business ventures listed under the program, for which vocational training and financial support is available.
During weekly meetings, individuals should deposit small amounts as a common savings for future group and individual needs. The collected amounts will be deposited in a bank account, to be loaned later to the group members at a nominal interest rate. The performance of each group will be inspected and graded, so that the groups can avail bank loans worth four times the deposited amount. This loan amount can be used as capital for starting small scale businesses by the group members.
Vocational training for self help groups
The AmritaSREE program also offers vocational training for self help groups on various trades, for example tailoring, nursing, driving, handicrafts making, electronic repair, etc. More than 54 vocational courses are offered including welding, heavy machinery operations, computer aided accounting, beautician courses, fashion designing, sanitary napkin making, food processing, etc.
Primary goals of AmritaSREE program
- Help tsunami-affected villagers create an alternative livelihood.
- Give financial assistance to families of farmers who committed suicide.
- Woman empowerment through vocational and technical training.
- Entrepreneurship promotion by supporting individual and group business ideas.
- Encourage nutritional eating habits among families through home gardening.
- Provide emergency financial assistance for self help groups through loans.
Activities undertaken by AmritaSREE self help groups
- Health awareness campaigns for villagers.
- Adult literacy classes in tribal areas.
- Kitchen garden promotion programs.
- Toilet construction in villages by self help groups.
- Health insurance and education for members and their families
- Food processing and sales
- Handicrafts and hygiene products making and sales
- Computer training
- Starting and running cluster shops.
- Sale of tea dust and leaves.
- Beautician and beauty parlor management courses
- Eco-friendly products making and marketing
- Tailoring and garment making for sales
- Organic farming and sale of produce
- Leather, hand-loom and coir products making
- Curry powder making and sales
- Personal and business loans at affordable interest rates
Currently, the AmritaSREE self help program has reached over 21 Indian states with around 6 lakh people directly or indirectly benefiting from the program. The future goal of Mata Amritanandamayi Math is to establish 30,000 self help groups all over India, benefiting the weaker sections of society.