What difference does your $20 a month make?

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SAFP’s Family Development Program partners our contributors with impoverished families in India in a unique way to promote empowerment and sustainable development. The monthly $20 donation is deposited directly into a bank account that has been set up for the family, so that 100% of the donation reaches them. Our staff in the field support families in planning and budgeting to address the issues that are most important to them and to start a small business. Beneficiaries also receive training on a variety of topics designed to promote physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy families and to provide skills needed to improve their standard of living.

What does all of this mean for the families and what kind of changes can it make in their lives? We asked some beneficiaries to share their experience with us and here is what they had to share.

Jasmine from Kannur, Kerala says: “In the beginning did not have the confidence to go outside of my house, I was too frightened. After joining my self-help group, the Save A Family Plan staff motivated me in starting my own business. So I began selling clothes and making candles. My husband is now preparing to start fishing in his new boat which we bought ourselves with our own funds. Now I have become the secretary of my Parish Church. Now I can take classes with others and am able to go and train other people without hesitation or fear. I am able to motivate others as well.”

Meera from Amravati, Maharashtra shares with us the change she experienced in her life: “My family was deprived of even our most basic needs. With the intervention of SAFP I received a new life and self-confidence. Thank-you for coming into my life and for giving me my dignity.”

Fulma from Amravati, Maharashtra shares: “I am very happy about the life that I live now. There is alot of joy in my life and I have satisfaction. From this village, my daughter Permila is the only girl who did nursing and has good job with Rs. 7000 income. I am very proud of my family. Millions and millions thanks to the family who helped me to come out of the bad days. I have no words to express my thanks to SAFP, to the Coordinator and Animators of SAFP. You all have brought light into my life and family.”

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Lilly from Mysore, Karnataka says: “I was poor and went through many difficulties. With the financial assistance from the benefactor, I started a petty shop at home. Now my family income is about Rs. 4500/ per month. Now we are not depending on others for our sustenance. We earn our livelihood from our petty shop and we are proud to have it. This shop is the remembrance of Family Development Program. In the meantime we also availed Government housing scheme to build a house with all basic facilities. We are leading a happy life and even making savings for the future. I am very grateful to the benefactor and SAFP for standing with me in my struggles and building up my family”.

Shantha from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu shared with us the impact of FD program in her and her family: “I lost my husband and was left with two children. I was uneducated so I did not know anything of the outside world. Through this program I gained more confidence…I started a small snack shop, and took up tailoring and stitching clothing. I expanded my small shop by selling milk and tea. With this earning I was able to give a good education to my sons. My elder son is employed with a good company and my younger son is doing his Masters in Business Management. This was only possible through the income I gained through my shop. This program has given me the ability to lead my family.”

Jancy from Ernakulam, Kerala says: “I have been receiving SAFP assistance since 2007. At the time of selection we were living in an old broken house. My husband was only the earning member of the family. We were struggling a lot to meet the educational expenses of the three children. Now our condition is totally changed through SAFP’s Family Development Program. After attending EDP training, I decided to get trained in the flower making craft, mostly from the eco waste materials. For that I did a certificate course under the Ministry of Textiles of Government of India. By using the Government grant and SAFP assistance, I could start an eco-shop near to my house. It was profitable. Moreover I got many chances to take classes of making flower craft. Now my position is raised from an ordinary housewife into a trainer. I am so proud to say that I am also an income earner of my family. It is achieved only by the great influence of SAFP programs and social workers. We could built a good house by the help of local Government’s housing scheme ,SAFP assistance, SHG loan and bank loan .My eldest son completed his engineering. Now he is working in a Private sector and an earner of the family. My second daughter is an engineering student. My youngest daughter has completed her Secondary School Leaving Certificate. My husband is also in good condition and continuing his works. By the grace of God Almighty and the great support of our benefactor, we are now in a good position in the society. For all our progress we are thankful to all who are helping a lot through the SAFP programs.”

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We join the thousands of families and communities across India who are on path to improving their quality of life and becoming self-supporting to thank our wonderful contributors who are journeying in partnership with them.


Sustainable Change through the Family Development Program

SAFP began with the inspiration of Pope Paul VI at the International Eucharistic Congress in Bombay (now Mumbai), India in December 1964. Monsignor Augustine John Kandathil (Father Gus), a priest from the Archdiocese of Ernakulam, South India, heard the appeal by Pope Paul VI to the world to join him in a non-violent battle against poverty and hunger in countries like India. SAFP was born in 1965, through the partnering of supporters in North America with five families in the southwestern state of Kerala, India.

Since then, more than 50,000 families have completed the Family Development Program and more than 11,800 families are currently partnered with supporters in North America. The program continues to be our core program and allows local grassroots self-help groups to select the most needy families in their communities based on criteria set out by SAFP (must have children under 13 and demonstrate striking poverty) to receive support for 6 years.

When families in India join the program, they are guided in setting up a bank account and $20 is deposited each month through the support of the partner in Canada. The family is assisted in critically analyzing their problems and making yearly plans and budgets to use the funds to overcome their problems. They are encouraged to start an income generation project (a small business) to help improve the family’s income in a sustainable way. This program also allows families to address basic-needs issues such as housing, health problems, education, indebtedness, sanitation, food security, etc. Families are encouraged to take an active role in the development of their families and communities though receiving training to increase knowledge and confidence. They are also supported in joining the local self-help group, participating in their local government, and accessing government grants and schemes.

Reena starting the programReena’s story of change and transformation is one of many examples of how families’ lives are impacted through this program. Reena and her family are from Alappuzha, Kerala and have successfully completed the Family Development Program through a Save A Family Plan partnership.

Before taking part in this program, the family struggled to meet basic needs and keep their small grocery store open. Their health was poor, they were malnourished, the children could not go to school, and their home was an unstable, one room hut.

Six years later, things have drastically changed for Reena and her family. After taking out micro-loans from a local credit union and accessing government social programs, they were able to expand their store and purchase a scooter to help with delivery of goods which has greatly increased their business’s success. By taking part in skills training that was offered by local staff members, they were able to access health insurance and start an organic kitchen garden. Finally, they saved enough money to begin the construction of a new house. The local government was able to give them a subsidy allowing them to complete the project. Things that were only dreams 6 years earlier for this family are now a reality. Reena expresses: “We cannot think of what our life would have been like without SAFP.”

For more information about Save A Family Plan’s Family Development Program, please visit our website.