Community Development in Rural India: An NGO Perspective
Sister Lucy Kurien is the founder of Maher, an interfaith NGO focused on rural development and women’s issues in India. For 17 years, Maher has been running projects all over India including homes for abused and battered women, street children, and the elderly. Currently Maher has 765 children and 240 women in its homes. Maher also trains destitute women in various tradecrafts such as sewing and jewelry making, enabling them to live independently with sustainable income. So far, 2230 women have passed through Maher’s training programs. In order to address the broader development issues facing rural India, Maher also organizes 465 self-help groups in which Maher staff leads discussions with community leaders and women. The topics range from AIDS awareness and importance of education to sustainable farming practices and rainwater harvesting.
Sister Lucy’s talk will focus on the importance of addressing women’s issues for broader community development and the self-help groups. She will discuss the successes and improvements in these communities as well as the failures, and where she sees the greatest challenges to India’s development objects and how we can turn them into opportunities for developing the country’s most impoverished areas.