BGVS started its journey to ensure equity and social justice to all sections of the society, through interventions in Literacy and Education. But soon we realised the need to address the issues that affect the livelihood of people in a direct and immediate manner.
It is the responsibility of the country to ensure that everyone is able to find work and that no one is left hungry. BGVS has continuously campaigned for this Right over the years, and has tried to educate people on their rights, The ‘Kaam Mango Abhiyan’ that enables villagers to get work and build sustainable assets is one of the current activities in this direction.
Participation of women in the Literacy Campaign was enormous - two thirds of the learners and two thirds of the volunteers were women. This led to the formation of a women’s platform ‘SAMATA’ in 1993, within BGVS. It was envisaged that education of women is closely linked to the empowerment of women. Samata continue to effectively intervene in areas of women’s education, health, panchayati raj, women enterprises, women’s rights, violence against women and other issues associated with women.
MALAR, which started out as a single SHG in Kanyakumari district of Tamilnadu in 1995 and grew into a federation of 1953 SHGs with 33,823 women members, (collectively managed to build up a saving of Rs 22 crore, with Rs 103 crore in rotation as loans) is an example of the success of women’s enterprising through SHGs