229,000 women empowered
1M men and children impacted
Scope and Impact
We give a voice to rural, uneducated women and facilitate the path to real change in mindset and attitude.
Since 1994, 229,000 women including 15,000 widows, have been empowered through SOPAR-Bala Vikasa’s initiatives. Close to 1 million men and children have benefitted indirectly from our women’s program.
Our monthly trainings, microcredit program and skills trainings boost women’s self-esteem and self-confidence, and act as a catalyst for change. Women go from being shy and withdrawn to daringly voicing their opinions and taking on leadership roles to organize development activities in their villages. From being excluded from community life, widows slowly regain confidence in themselves and respect from their family and community members. Women including widows set up small businesses that improve their family’s life conditions and education possibilities. A profound sense of empathy and social responsibility is created among women. This leads to the care of orphans and of the old and destitute. This change in mentality gets rural poor women members to happily provide funding for the neediest in their communities. Women gain respect and recognition from their family and community for their involvement.
How real people are making a real difference in our Women Program
The story of Mr. Tassé, a businessman from Gatineau, Québec
Eugene Tassé is a successful businessman who has been a long-time donor to SOPAR-Bala Vikasa. He believes in helping others, in sharing and in community involvement. “I visited SOPAR-Bala Vikasa’s programs in India on several occasions. The situation of women is the thing that struck me most. Here in Canada, women can become whatever they desire. This is not the case in India. For many years, I contributed to the microcredit program. When I learned about the segregation widows face and heard their heart-breaking testimonials, I decided to act. I have been a donor to the widows’ program ever since and I talk about the widows’ conditions to my family and business partners. I believe that widows have the power within to end these superstitions.”
The story of Nirmala, an Indian widow at the age of 28
Nirmala was married at 12 and became a widow at 28. From that moment, she became a symbol of bad luck like all the other widows in her village. She accepted her faith until she heard about SOPAR-Bala Vikasa. “I have been a widow for 5 years now. I have endured so much… but SOPAR-Bala Vikasa’s meetings have given me hope. I now have confidence in myself and I know my rights. When people want to put me aside because I am a widow, I have the courage to speak out my discontentment. As time goes by, I get respect from many and I can feel some sympathize with my situation. I will continue to express myself and to encourage widows to do the same. I also want to help other people in need in my village. This is why I am offering support to the orphans.”
More videos about our Women Program
Women and Widows Program
Widows of India