Many years ago, driven by the hope of earning some money, C. Prabhavathi became a beautician. Today, the proud owner of three salons and a gym in Arumbakkam has finally managed to earn a profit and is a source of inspiration and support for many women in need of help.

Prabhavathi was among the first few women to take up a training course offered by the Guild of Service. “I joined the course in 1994 and used to take my child to the class. Initially, it was quite tough. But I was able to set up a unit at home within three months of completing the course. I then invested whatever I earned in an advanced beautician course. For five years, I worked in various parlours and in 2000, started my own parlour with loans from friends.” Prabhavathi’s husband is a postal assistant. She also took up fitness training programmes and added a gym to one of her salons in Arumbakkam.

Today, S. Amudha is rebuilding her life under Prabhavathi’s tutelage. When Amudha’s husband deserted her and their three children, she sought shelter in her mother’s house and worked for a while as a domestic help. “My mother is a flower vendor in Koyambedu and cannot support us. I also underwent treatment for seizures after my marriage broke down. So, Prabhavathi madam’s suggestion that I take up the course was a life-saver. She also helped me out with money when I was unable to pay the initial fee of Rs. 1,000 for a kit. I also work at her parlour,” Amudha said. An intern, she now earns a stipend of Rs. 500 a month.

Deepika, (22), and Aparna (17) are others who have followed Amudha’s example.

The course is offered by the Guild of Service under its Nutrition on Wheels programme. Savithri Gopalakrishnan, who is in charge of the programme, said 75 women have benefitted from the six-week course. “We provide them with a starter kit. The funding comes from Amicale International, Luxemberg,” she said.

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