Seventeen women make up Opportunity India’s Trust Group called Samudram. These women have received loans and training to grow their businesses and increase their income, bringing hope to their families for a brighter future. They celebrated their success by “paying it forward”–making a difference in their communities. Trash pickup is not a high priority in the slum area of Chennai, where they live and work, so garbage piles up and overflows from the municipal cans. The team of entrepreneurs conducted a day of service, walking through their neighborhood to pick up litter, and they also joined together to donate eight industrial concrete garbage cans to their community to help keep the streets clean.
The day of service showcased the women’s newfound confidence, and municipal leaders and press took notice. “Not long ago, we were worried where our next meal would come from,” one of the ladies said. “Today we were honored by our village counselor and recognized for our service to others.” The community leaders held a ceremony to recognize the ladies. The counselor, Mrs. Nirmala Kuppusamy, who is herself a former Trust Group member, was so proud of the women and the positive impact they had on their community that she donated gas cooking ovens to each of them. In addition to the ovens, she committed to weekly trash pickup in the area. “Opportunity India has changed everything for us,” a Trust Group member said. “We will make a lasting change for others in our community.”
Samudram’s story is proof that when people unite to do something for the greater good, they can accomplish big things. These women from the slums gained a voice and did something that made a big difference for their entire community. Their story is a reminder that with determination and commitment, great things are possible.