In the village of Bhujabala, India, you will find 35-year-old Geeta embroidering and stitching blouses and sarees, a traditional Indian garment for women. Geeta is a wife, mother of two, and is recently owning the role of entrepreneur. The family’s livelihood was dependent on the availability of work in the village and on her husband’s income of $375 per annum, which is $3.12 per day. This was not enough to cover the basic necessities for her family.

Geeta uses her Literacy India sewing machine to run her business.Geeta had attended a local group meeting facilitated by Outreach program partners in India also known as Human-Development Facilitators (HDFs). The purpose of an HDF is to guide a community through the development process and empower its members to actively participate.

Through the meeting, she learned there were opportunities for her to improve her family’s financial stability. The HDFs had provided her with the resources for how she could be successful, but it was Geeta who found the courage to make a difference for her family.

A Glance at Poverty in India

The village of Bhujabala, India, is beginning to thrive because of the Outreach CLD process.Despite India’s economic growth, the benefits have not been evenly distributed across the country. Poverty in India accounts for 40% of the global poverty rate. And as of 2021, 11.9% of India’s population lives below the poverty line. The poverty rate has fluctuated significantly before and after independence, heavily influenced by dependency on primary commodities, social inequalities, and rapid population growth. The World Bank defines poverty as $2.15 per person per day, and nearly 70% of the increase in global extreme poverty can be attributed to India. Geeta’s story is a thread of a larger story of the social and economic challenges in India.

The Power of Community-Led Development

Community-led development allows for several opportunities for people to have an active role in developing their communities from the inside out. It is a process that encourages discussion and prioritizes the needs established by the members within that area. Outreach International’s approach empowers members of a community to initiate and identify the pathways in which they can succeed. This certainly rang true in Geeta’s. She took it upon herself to attend meetings to learn how she could help support her family. By using the community-led development approach, the right resources, like small business loans, are made accessible to people with the guidance of HDFs.

Geeta attended tailoring training and with the help of the non-profit organization, Literacy India accessed a USHA sewing machine. Their mission is dedicated to the four Es – Education, Employment, Empowerment, and Environment. These pillars all align with Outreach’s areas of focus. Because of the help from Literacy India, Geeta began providing her services and transformed her average monthly income to $25.25. Her new skill and equipment brought a valuable service to those in her village with visually specific actions and results. This is the main purpose of community-led development, to empower places like Bhujabala to transform because of people like Geeta.

Creating Pathways for Future Generations

The World Bank expected India’s real wages to grow in 2023 at 4.6% and disposable incomes at 15%. This highlights the need for initiatives like Literacy India that empower members like Geeta to participate. Her story is a testament to the transformative work of community-led organizations. But also to creating new opportunities for her family’s future. Her continued dedication to improving her skills further secures her family’s financial future along with her community’s. Geeta’s journey is the core of why Outreach International chooses to confront poverty with community-led development. She gets to be the driver of her story, choosing how she will support her family and how she will contribute to her village of Bhujabala through sewing.

How to Help

You can be a part of stories like Geeta’s by donating to Outreach International. Your generosity enables communities like Bhujabala to empower themselves, identify their goals, and improve their communities from within.