As we travel I marvel at what our women are doing in an effort to reduce the shackles of poverty. Self-help groups in the Africa and in the South Asia zones are good examples of this where women are committed to programme community development, skill development training, micro credit support, capacity building training and livestock management to name only some of them.

Recently as we visited Nagercoil in the India South Eastern territory, we participated in a festival meeting of self-help groups representing most of the members of the 306 such groups in that territory. What a sight it was as the hall was full of women, all wearing the same colour sari. During the celebration, we heard testimonies, of how women have been helped as they became members of these self-help groups.

Planting of the saplings

What was of special interest and must be commended was the special initiative that came as a response to the Okhi cyclone. Many trees were wiped out. Realising the impact on the environment, the members of self-help groups decided with the support of THQ, to plant 25.000 saplings in the Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts. The General and I gave out the first saplings to the Silvia self-help group and this was the signal to all the groups to plant the 25.000 saplings in the two districts. What a positive response to conservation and issues of climate change this initiative represents!

I am proud to see that as women we also care for our environment.

Commissioner Silvia Cox

Photo of crowd gathered