Mariyaseelan Theresmalar from Manthuvil in Puthukudiyiruppu Divisional Secretary’s Division now 49 years old is at present the head of her household having lost her husband at the age of 26 years and her children by him, being both married by now. The married son is living away from the village and has little contact with Theresmalar. On the other hand the daughter lives next to her temporary shelter in yet another temporary structure along with her husband, a casual labourer and two small children.
Theresmalar used to go out seeking casual work to meet her daily expenses. As she was treated as a single person household she was not considered for any handouts from either Government Schemes or INGO funds.
Being an active member of Valarmathi Self-Help Group of the Vanaruvi cluster associated with Yougashakthi Women Federation gave her confidence and courage to break away from irregular casual work which takes her away from home to seek a loan of Rs.15,000 from the project supported by Diakonia. With this loan she started a small kiosk for selling day to day needs of the neighbouring community.
Theresmalar has a daily turnover of around Rs.1500 and makes a small profit of Rs.150 every day. She while serving her group of customers, is able to look after her expenses without being a burden on others. At the same time she helps her daughter by looking after the young grandchildren while also at the same time handling her customers. The social capital generated by the group activities of the Self-Help Group keeps her exceptionally contented with her lot. She feels wanted by the community at large with her role in the group she belongs to. The self-help group the small business and the two little grandchildren keep her moored in useful activity providing much self satisfaction and self esteem as well.