Savitri, who is affected by leprosy, belongs to Konda village in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh. Without a proper source of income, she found it difficult to take care of her household expenses and felt hopeless in life. Last year, The Leprosy Mission Trust India’s (TLMTI) Vocational Training Centre (VTC) in Vizianagaram, along with TLMTI’s CREATE project, started a self-help group (SHG) in her village. Savitri and 15 others joined the SHG. The VTC trained them in making candles, detergent powder and phenyl concentrate. They were also trained to start their own business by borrowing money from the bank, and in marketing their products.
Their SHG is running well, with only handholding support from the VTC. Savitri and her friends are earning a decent amount every month as profit. This has changed their lifestyle. They can now buy good food and clothes, get proper medical care and send their children to good schools.
TLMTI’s VTC in Vizianagaram started community-based vocational training (CBVT) programme in 2011. The goal of CBVT programme is to provide vocational training in community settings rather than in conventional school environment. Under this programme, the VTC mobilises people affected by leprosy and people with disabilities in villages and forms SHGs. SHG members are given training in manufacturing products, like candles, detergent powder, phenyl, rexine bag, and also in tailoring, desk-top publishing (DTP), mobile phone repairing, etc. They are supported in starting their own enterprises by taking loans from banks. They are also trained in marketing their products.
The VTC has so far formed 20 SHGs in 20 villages in and around Vizianagaram and trained and supported their members to start their own businesses. More than 500 SHG members are benefited by this programme. Having their socio-economic status improved, they live with dignity in their communities.