Living in the thick Nalammala forests, they have been living far below the minimum standards of living for long with no sustainable source of income.
Thanks to Special Chenchu Samkhyas formed under the Indira Kranthi Patham and flow of additional income under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, now the womenfolk of the primitive tribe have seen a rise in the family income.
They have developed the habit of saving and seen improvement in their standard of living.
“We are able to send our children to school and spend more on food to lead a healthier life,” says 35-year-old Village Association president Dasari Nagamma, at remote Chilakacherlagudem.
“We even have television sets in our houses to get to know of the outside world,'' adds Ms. Nagamma who heads the self-help group (SHG) Potharaju Sangam.
“Earlier they used to save Rs 30 a month. Now with an additional income in their hands thanks to MG-NREGS, they are able to save Rs 100 a month'' Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) Project Officer Alok Kumar says.
The women groups in the district repaid about Rs 20 lakh on loans obtained from the Community Investment Fund, says ITDA Project Manager (NREGS) C Sudhir. They had been advanced loans under the CIF for sheep-rearing.
Earlier banks were averse to providing bank linkage to them. “Now the lead bank Syndicate Bank at Dornala has come forward to provide about Rs 2-lakh bank linkage to nine groups to start with,'' says K V Ramakrishna, Special Officer in-charge of NREGS implementation in the district.
“The notable change in their attitude is that they are now willing to chip in with their contribution whether it is for repairing their houses or purchasing bullock carts or even sinking borewells on their own to get assured water for their land,'' observes Mr Ramakrishna. The Chenchu women have formed themselves into over 210 SHGs in the district, he adds.
Women groups repay about Rs 20 lakh on loans obtained from Community Investment Fund Syndicate Bank at Dronala has come forward to provide about Rs 2 lakh bank linkage
Women groups repay about Rs 20 lakh on loans obtained from Community Investment Fund
Syndicate Bank at Dronala has come forward to provide about Rs 2 lakh bank linkage