FIRE is actively working to bring economic stability to families of the poorest state in India through the Self Help Group - micro enterprise concept.  This process begins by encouraging 10-15 interested women from a village (who are not directly related) to agree to form a micro enterprise.  Typically each woman represents a family of six.

FIRE trainers then teach them how to form a Self Help Group.  This starts with each women agreeing to save a few rupees a week and pool them together to establish their new micro enterprise account. It typically takes $100 or about 4500 rupees to open a bank account in Orissa. 

Many of the micro enterprise opportunities are simple and can be started with little capital, such as broom making, basket making.  Other enterprises need more capital and micro financing. Trainers work with them to identify what kind of business enterprise they can successfully bring into their local marketplace. The women meet together weekly to learn ways to get their new business started and successful. They are further encouraged as they see their savings account grow to meet their business goals.

FIRE SHG trainers show them how they can get reasonable interest loans from the local banks. One pre-requisite to funding is to have an established bank account and also be actively involved in Community Health Education (CHE).  Banks and potential investors greatly value CHE training at the village and family levels.  FIRE has a state wide CHE training program designed to train the master trainers that will train the trainers for the district and village levels.

Today, FIRE is working with over 2500 Self Help Groups which represent between 150 -180,000 people in Orissa.


Micro Enterprise:

Self Help Group (SHG) Training

Kandahmal District Kui village Self Help Group has started a broom making business which is generating 3 times each women’s family’s past annual income.  They sell the brooms in their local markets.