Hyderabad, March 8
HelpAge India, a leading social service NGO working for senior citizens, has decided to scale up the initiative they started in Tamil Nadu and start self-help groups (SHGs) exclusively for senior citizens across the country. These clusters of SHGs would be formed into a federation.
"The idea is to start a micro finance institute on the lines of the Bangladeshi model," Ms Indrani Rajadurai, Director of HelpAge India (Southern Region), told
"The whole idea is to make the old people financially independent, while giving them a forum to voice their grievances. The groups will make them live a dignified life," she said.
"We would like them to be assets and not a burden on the families," she pointed out. She was here to participate in a programme where Mr R.M. Gonela, Commissioner of Social Welfare (Andhra Pradesh Government), released a comprehensive guide for senior citizens.
Relating her experience with regard to SHGs in Tamil Nadu, she said about 300 groups were formed that took up a variety of livelihood activities. One of them included owning of boats by a group of three-four old people. "The young fishermen who use the boats would give part of the proceeds to the owners," she said.
Besides, the NGO would set up a helpline for senior citizens that would offer a variety of services. "We have launched one in Tamil Nadu with the 1253 number. We are going to launch a similar one in Hyderabad. There is a crying need for such a helpline. We are looking for supporters and sponsors to make it a reality," she said.
She said the NGO spent Rs 9 crore in tsunami-hit areas in Tamil Nadu. "We are going to spend Rs 9 crore more," she added.