27 January, 2021

The Road To Self Reliance

A unique development scheme in Alapuzha involves the under-privileged in poverty identification

The Road To Self Reliance

COULD life be much more than penury? With a total family income of less than Rs 1,500 per month, Valsala Sebastian of Alapuzha town, formerly Alleppy, in Kerala it hardly seemed possible. Today, however, she lives in a pucca house with electricity and running water. A fan, a clock and a tin of Cuticura talcum powder are signs of her improving standard of life and pride of place is given to a telephone. Valsala, who is illiterate, now earns Rs 3,000 per month, sometimes more, as sitting fee as a municipal councillor, besides Rs 450 a week from coir mat weaving. And last year she went to New York to receive the 'We the People' 50 communities award from the United Nations.

In the last four years, over 10,000 women of Alapuzha have found a solution to their poverty through the Community Development Scheme (CDS) of the state government's Urban Poverty Alleviation Cell—the unit that earned the UN award that Valsala collected. Few of these families had been touched by any antipoverty exercise in the last 45 years. Now, however, the CDS...



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