On a scorching summer day, when I traveled to Padavedu to have a glimpse of the lifestyle of the villagers, I was pleasantly surprised. Being a city dweller, I hardly get the opportunity to visit the remote corners of my country on a regular basis. So when I was invited by TVS Motor to visit the picturesque village in Tamil Nadu, I refrained from saying no. My urge to spend time with the locals, knowing new cultural landscapes and be a part of the social fabric, always brings me back to the rustic villages of my country.
Padavedu is hardly an hour’s drive from Vellore. Encircled by the hills, lush green vegetation, the colorful houses, temples, and people in their traditional attire, I was delighted to see the developing lifestyle of the villagers and the self-sustaining village. I learned how Srinivasan Services Trust (SST), the social arm of TVS Motor Company has been contributing tremendously in altering the lives of the villagers in Padavedu in every possible way.
Whether it is about changing their attitude towards social and cultural development, education, self sustainability, infrastructure, women empowerment, health and environment, SST along with the help of the government, has been involved closely with the village communities, by introducing some great initiatives, touching 3.2 million lives in 5000 villages across five states.
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Meet these successful women in Padavedu
Among all the great initiatives taken by the SST, I was impressed by the women empowering initiative in Padavedu village. While forming SHG (Self Help Group) and providing skills training in managing small scale cottage industries, SST has been making an enormous effort to make the women self-sufficient and self-reliant.
“Smiles on their faces, dreams in their eyes and confidence in their tones,” were assuring enough to know the present scenario of Padavedu”.
I was extremely happy meeting these promising groups of women in that remote village of Padavedu, who are running their household beautifully along with involving themselves in the making of Banana Fibre handicrafts, which gives them the opportunity to use their skills and earn money for themselves.Today, they are self- sufficient, confident and more importantly financially independent. They no longer depend on their husbands for financial help. Not only that, they are also able to save some amount of money every month.
I could feel a sense of pride in their voice while sharing their success stories. Because of the great initiative by SST to empower these women, they have earned an equal importance in their household. My heart was filled to the brim with joy when I came to know that they are now able to take financial decisions. Not just that, they are able to send their kids to schools and colleges for higher education. While having a conversation, I was told that they had made this village alcohol free, which is a great milestone to achieve in remote corners like these. It feels great to meet women who are no longer submissive. They have got their voice, employment, and independence. It gives them the courage to dream and also the ability to achieve them as well. They are the perfect examples of successful women today, who are contributing in shaping a better future for themselves and their families.
Other Progressive Initiatives
SST has touched the lives of these villagers beautifully by introducing several other life altering initiatives. I also visited one household where the woman has been earning an extra income by making camphor in her free time. Meeting those adorable kids in the Aanganwadi School was another highlight of my day. By providing the right infrastructures and facilities to these kids, SST is not only improving the quality of education but also conducting parent teacher meetings to educate the villagers about the importance of education. I was delighted to know the decreasing rate of drop outs of SST village schools. Among all other initiatives, I was really impressed with SST waste management system where they collect dry wastes from the villages and produce manure.
Well, when you are in South India, sampling the authentic meal is mandatory. The joy of having the flavors of Chennai on a banana leaf was quite overwhelming. I also tried my hands in making pottery with the locals. I do crave for these rustic experiences that make your visit worthwhile.
I always believe that a progressive village can pave the way for a successful society. It is very important to work at the grass-root level to make people ready for a better future. By creating awareness, imparting training, and involving village communities to be a part of the change, SST has been making significant efforts since the last 20 years to take India on the road to continuous progression.
I was invited by TVS Motor on a Press Trip to Padavedu
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