Members of ‘Smile for India’, group set up by students of Sainte Jenne D’ Arc School, Brignole in France, have dedicated their weekend to raise money, that is being poured in Indian villages to empower women farmers.

Being prime focus on cattle rearing by rural women, Smile for India, set up by six students of the school in 2009, has brought smile on the faces of several women in Krishna district.

Among the 173 beneficiaries added this year, half of them are into cattle rearing. A few hundred women supported by the group were already settled well, financially. Every year, the members visit the coastal villages in Krishna district during their school holidays, spent two-week and homebound with a sense of service to their fellow human being.

“We raise money through different activities, including baby sitting, event management, working in hotels on weekends. The two-week visit to Indian villages is an education for us about diversified Indian rural women life,” 12th standard student Eva Landais told The Hindu.

Like Eva, as many as 27 students, including their teacher, had managed to come down to Krishna district villages this year among the 40 members in the group.

The group and activities are nowhere relate to their academics, purely an individual decision. When the present members are passed out from the school, their juniors who join the group will continue the activities.

New ideas

“Women are now coming up with their new ideas, planning to start pan shops, investing the fund on their children education and so on.

Incredible that everybody repays the fund that would be given to the needy women,” says another student Manon Caulet. The villages the group had adopted are: Rayapalli, Jinjeru, Kothapudi, Kanuru, and Vannuru in Machilipatnam mandal and a few villages in Gudlavalleru mandal. “Many students on their visit have changed their mind to become doctor following their stint of studying the rural life,” said Sainte Jenne D’ Arc School teacher Isabelle Castaing. Co-ordinator of the group in India, Selvin Raj said little effort by the French students is otherwise a new episode, just began to empower the women folk in Krishna villages.

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