Women empowerment

The situation of women in Tamil Nadu: where are we?


Still very conservative, Tamil society meets several social issues which negatively affects people’s daily lives. Many taboos are still inscribed, including the question of AIDS, women’s role in society, arranged marriages, incestuous relationships, illiteracy, etc.


The status of women in society is mainly defined in relation to men as mother, wife, sister or daughter. They have to take care of and support their entire family while doing all the housework.


In terms of financial independence, women do not have the same opportunities as men. They are less educated, depend on their husband’s income and are forced to help their husband in their agricultural activities, without any social recognition. This lack of financial autonomy can lead them to an extremely difficult situation if their husband has abandoned the family, whether it is a conflict with the in-laws.


OFI approach to promote women empowerment


It is impossible to change the mentality of an entire society into a snap of fingers. That is why OFI and its partners in the field, in order to promote the social and economic role of women in Indian society, give women the tools they need to access more resources through career guidance. Women can thus acquire a certain autonomy from their husband and their home, which gives them a completely different social status. They can take part in the decisions of the home and assert themselves in their community.


Offering women economic power to improve their social position in Tamil society.


To do so, our favorite method is the creation and formation of Self-Help Groups (SHG). To discover and understand how SHGs work, click here


On-going projects


SEVAI : Resourceful Women


Located on the East coast of Tamil Nadu, on the edge of the Indian Ocean, this project offers women from rural and isolated villages opportunities to emancipate themselves through two programs.


First, a program of professional training in computer science, sewing and medical care . These trainings allow young women to follow professional courses. As a result, young women improve their employability in the labor market and can more easily emancipate themselves financially.


The second component of the program is the formation of Self-Help Groups to create economic activity in the region. It involves bringing together 12 to 20 women so that they have access to government micro-loans at a very low-interest-rate allowing them to launch an economic activity. As part of this program, many training courses are provided, both on skills needed to run an economic activity (accounting, management, professional training, etc.) and on personal development (awareness of the role of women in society, hygiene and health, etc.).


Through this project, women acquire knowledge and skills to work and to gain social recognition. They can either start their own business with SHGs or find a job.


SEVAI : A Power for Tomorrow


The project aims to empower women through the creation of Self-Help Groups . It aims to provide marginalized women who live below the poverty line the necessary tools for their social emancipation and economic independence.


Based on the voluntary participation and active involvement of beneficiaries, this project combines a comprehensive program of training, empowerment and the creation of economic activities (micro entrepreneurship) through access to public micro-credit.




In Trichy District, Tamil Nadu, SEVAI is working to create Self-Help Groups for women. In addition to supporting in the management of economic activity, the women beneficiaries of this program are sensitized to social and societal issues and have the opportunity to follow various professional training in order to acquire the skills they will put in the process. continued in application to launch their micro-enterprise.


The project “Stitching” allows to fund the salary of the sewing teacher at the Amoor Training Center . This training center provides hands-on education to women from the area who want to specialize in sewing. Self-help groups wishing to work in this way can then, depending on what they wish to do, make products that they will sell locally or work on contracts with companies.


In 2017/18, 52 young women attended Amoor’s sewing classes (two groups of 25 and 27). The students are trained during 6 months and, thanks to the acquired skills, can find work in the garment industry in the region or then gather in Self-Help Group to set up their micro-enterprise under the SHG program.




Benjamine Oberoi, Vice President of OFI and our local partner SEVAI, have encouraged the creation of more than 11,000 Self-Help Groups. 150,000 households have been able to overcome the poverty line..


OFI has participated in the federation of more than 4,050 Self-Help Groups (SHG) with SEVAI and GRAMIUM and the financing of 68 professional trainings .


In all, 64,410 women have been impacted by our projects.


But what impact do our projects have on Tamil women?


65% of beneficiaries have managed to increase and stabilize their incomes.


Les dépenses dédiées à l’éducation ont augmenté de 125%, celles de nourriture de 80% et celles de santé de 40%.


98% of SHG members now have a real impact on social issues in the community that can reduce alcoholism , improve waste management and hygiene in the villages.



They have been convinced by our actions for women


OFI won the 2018 Raja Women Award in the category “Education and Social Action”


Since 2013, the Raja Women’s Award has rewards organizations in France and around the world for actions which have a concrete and lasting impact for the benefit of women. The Raja Danièle-Marcovici Foundation encourages their empowerment and the improvement of their living conditions. It supports projects in the fight against violence and the defense of women’s rights, education and social action, training and professional integration, protection of the environment and the fight against climate change.


OFI has been supporting projects for the empowerment and economic independance of rural women in Tamil Nadu for 15 years. Benjamine Oberoi, Vice President of OFI and our local partner SEVAI, encouraged the creation of more than 11,000 Self-Help Groups. 150,000 households were able to overcome the poverty line.


For this, the entire OFI team is honored and proud to have received this award from the Raja Danièle-Marcovici Foundation. This award motivates us to continue our projects and expand our field of action.


This price is also yours. Without you, these projects would never have seen the light of day. Thank you for your support. Small steps can make all the difference and it’s great to be able to do good together!