June 18, 2014
A passage from India
In India, there is no safety net for the poor. Driven by this harsh reality, a mass movement of approximately 8 million self-help groups involving over 100 million woman has emerged in recent years. These self-help groups have become a powerful driver of social and economic change, improving the lives of these women, their families and communities. The focus of these groups is to help their members to save money and to become involved in cooperative enterprises. This simple but powerful idea has recently started to take root in some of Scotland’s poorest communities.
A time line of progress
To see what some of these groups have been doing – click here get inspired
August 2010: A group of 13 women from 7 disadvantaged communities in Glasgow start meeting together to study and understand the ethos and impact of the Indian self-help group model.
January 2011: The women travel to Mumbai and Gujarat in India – the trip is called ‘Passage to India’ – to learn to interact with women involved in the self-help group movement. The group not only come face-to-face with grinding poverty but also find a deep sense of resilience and confidence amongst the women they encountered and a model they believe can help change the lives of women and their families back home in Scotland (www.apassagetoindia-pa.blogspot.com).
February 2011: On their return, the Glaswegians share the stories of inspiring Indian women they have met and their own life-transforming experience to a gathering of over 150 people and announce their plans to launch Scotland’s first women’s Self-Reliant Groups (SRGs). Passage to India is now renamed as Passage from India.
March 2011: The first SRG in Scotland is started by 8 women in the Provanmill community of Glasgow. Saving £1 each every week, they establish a successful Lunch Club for their community in the premises of St. Paul’s Church in Provanmill.
November 2011: The Church of Scotland Guild chooses Passage from India as one of the 6 projects they will sponsor from 2012-2015. Money raised goes towards establishing the Microfinance initiative.
May 2012: Passage from India becomes an independent Scottish Charity.
September 2013: Women@Work in Provanmill SRG goes on to establish a Community Interest Company, receives a small loan and launch ‘Fluff & Fold’, a Laundrette business.
October 2013: Scottish Government announces funding that helps recruit a dedicated 3-member staff team to grow the SRG movement.
April 2014: Passage from India is rebranded and launched as WEvolution (taking its cue from ‘we’ and ‘change’: change as a combined activity).