The event was the launch of this year’s initiative to reach more than two lakh women who belong to the 13,000+ self-help groups in India.
Amrita Self-Reliance Education and Employment (AmritaSREE) held its inauguration for the coming year in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. About 15,000 women who belong to AmritaSREE Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in the district attended. They received aid packages that included financial aid, food supplies, and new clothing for family members.
“The AmritaSREE scheme is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of our country’s citizens becoming self-reliant, and it sends a message beyond providing livelihood to the poor,” said India’s Minister of State for External Affairs, Sri V Muraleedharan, in his inaugural address.
“On the 75th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India has to become a developed country in the next 25 years, and the AmritaSREE project exemplifies this by heading in that direction.”
AmritaSREE supports its members, mostly women from isolated and rural areas, to independently earn a living via professions not reliant upon increasingly unpredictable weather patterns, especially fishing and farming.
Sri V Muraleedharan said AmritaSREE’s success can be understood from the fact that members of the SHGs earn income from self-reliant ventures in 54 industries, ranging from digital training to plumbing to snack production.
“It is not the responsibility of the government alone to pursue the status of the country. It’s an activity that everyone has to take collectively. Amma’s project, which she has been directing for the past 17 years, today serves more than two lakh women. May this be extended to the entire country’s development,” he added.
The Math started AmritaSREE in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami when fishermen’s families in Kerala were utterly devastated. There are now 13,000+ SHGs across Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. As the initiative enters its 18th year, similar gatherings will reach its members.
“AmritaSREE is a project that has created a positive impact on people’s lives. It is not a scheme that just gives financial assistance or a food kit, but is a programme that provides relief to lakhs of families in Kerala,” said Sri Antony Raju, Kerala’s Transport Minister, while giving the keynote address.
“It establishes security. Amma’s benevolence reaches everywhere, and the Math is able to see people as human beings regardless of caste and religion.”
During the event, Member of Parliament Adoor Prakash, who presided over the function, added: “The activities of the Math are a ray of hope for society, and the projects run by them change people’s lives.”
A woman with the Chirayankeezhu Unit shared: “The kit and clothing distribution in this economically disadvantaged situation is very helpful for us. The underprivileged members in our SHG find it a huge support. These gifts in the form of Amma’s prasad are equivalent to God’s gift.”
Beyond economic aid, AmritaSREE has emerged as a vital force for women’s empowerment. Its SHG members create innovative business enterprises and professions. AmritaSREE provides vocational and skills training, as well as food, clothing and other basic needs supplies for the families. These women, who were once vulnerable to poverty, become independent.
“It’s a relief to get this. This is a helping hand for those who are struggling at home. Coming together weekly and having the option to take out a loan from the SHG is a tremendous support to meet our essential needs. Today, the value of this kit is even more as it is Amma’s prasad,” explained another AmritaSREE member.
Programmes for AmritaSREE’s anniversary are being organised at the district level to ensure the participation of eminent personalities from social, spiritual, cultural, and political fields from their communities. In this way, the initiative will be able to reach more and more women to give them the support needed to form SHGs.
The event in Kerala’s capital also included Sri R Ranganathan, the coordinator of AmritaSREE, to present the theme. Sampujya Swami Turiyamritananda Puri shared the benedictory address. BJP Central Committee Member PK Krishnadas, District Panchayat President Adv D Suresh Kumar, and Ward Councilor G Madhavadas delivered felicitations. Amrita Vidyalaya Director GS Sajikumar was also present.
Every year, the Math provides a seed grant of ₹30,000 to SHGs with 20 members. Over five lakh sarees are also distributed to women with AmritaSREE, alongside new clothes for their families.