Photo - women showing me their new fishing net
Renuka received her undergraduate degree from Ghandi Grameen University and got married soon after. By 1993, Renuka was one of three women activists in Chennai working with women in city slums and the surrounding coastal areas. Only 2% of organizations in India were run by women at the time and Human Rights organizations were very rare.
CWDR – the program that Renuka established in Chennai – works directly with women through four main programs: Training and loans, Human rights and gender issues, Income generation, and Computer training.
This project – 250 tsunami affected women and adolescent girls – was created just after the 2004 tsunami. When natural disaster strikes families living in precarious conditions find recovery very difficult. In small fishing villages in India, families survive on as little as 50 rupees per day (roughly $1.05). After the tsunami devastated many coastal regions of India, women in these fishing communities who were already struggling were forced to provide for their families with no income at all. Initially, CWDR tried to collect and distribute food, clothes and medicine to the affected villages. GlobalGiving funds were used to purchase school materials for children, thereby establishing credibility in the area.
When six months had passed and the village men were still not bringing home and income, the women of these villages became income earners of their own. CWDR’s goal is to equip these women with revenue earning skills so that they can feed their families and gain independence from their unreliable husbands. Specific skills include palm frond weaving, shoe making, soap making, silk screening, tailoring and fishing net weaving.
CWDR helped create seven self-help groups with 10 members each in Chennai. There are 20-25 women in each of the 13 groups in tsunami-affected areas and the six groups in other coastal villages. GlobalGiving provided these women with loans to build their own craft shops.
Photo - children of the women who have been trained by CWDR
Photo - woman in her shop built with donations through GlobalGiv