Hand in Hand with poverty


 “We do not want to give people fish, but rather train them to use a fishing rod and lend them the money to buy one.”

This is the crux of Hand in Hand’s motto. Hand in Hand is a public charitable trust founded in Tamil Nadu. Their objective is to eliminate poverty by creating jobs. They do not want to create dependency by being a permanent distributor of aid. Instead, they help people to help themselves.

 They have a unique holistic approach that tackles – microfinance, education, health, information, and environment. They have helped to create 6, 40,428 enterprises so far.

Hand in Hand mobilizes women into self-help groups, which work as business and savings partnerships. Here, women learn how to save money, and about lending and repayment within their own group. The microfinance model is followed by HIH. After the enterprises are successfully established, HIH observes them from a distance.

Padmavathi is one of the thousands of women who has benefited from the program. The 26-year-old mother of two, is a sculptor and earns anywhere between INR 7,000 and INR 10,000 a month. Had she not joined a Hand in Hand self-help group three years ago, her story would not have been such a happy one.

Padmavathi joined Hand in Hand’s Baratham self-help group, encouraged by her supportive husband. In the group, women are taught to save, the basics of accounting, as well as how to run and expand small enterprises. Soon, Padmavathi became eligible for micro-loans and she used these not only to expand her husband’s sculpting business but she also decided to take on full-time sculpting herself. With two members, the business flourished and the income is good now.

The couple works together, whether they are carving figures or managing their finances. Much to her relief and delight, her elder son is interested and Padmavathi plans to give him a formal education in sculpting. If only more artists and artisans could form such self help groups, they wouldn’t have to abandon traditional art forms to pursue other lucrative careers. Future generation would then be inspired to continue the family business like Padmavathi’s son was, seeing his mother’s success.

HIH was founded by Percy Barnevik and Kalpana Sankar. Percy, the Chairperson of Hand in Hand International was the President and CEO of ABB from 1980 to 1996 . Kalpana Sankar  the CEO and Managing Trustee of HIH, has served as Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

Hand in Hand has now extended its successful enterprise creation programme to other countries.

Watch a video: http://www.youtube.com/user/hihseedorg#p/a/u/1/18I-YA0ghD8





  1. vishesh agrawal on

    I’m an IT engineer from chhattisgarh,india and want to join HIH family.please send me the details to get linked with the mission on my id

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