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Resilient Communities: Impact Stories

Disaster Relief in India

Disaster Relief in India: Swayam Shikshan Prayog

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Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) has more than fifteen years of experience in facilitating sustainable and community-driven recovery-to-development processes. Following the large-scale earthquakes in Maharashtra (1993) and Gujarat (2001), SSP mobilized grassroots women’s groups to participate in reconstruction and local governance processes. Their mobilization helped transform large-scale disaster recovery and reconstruction processes into empowerment and development opportunities for grassroots women’s groups. With SSP support, the grassroots networks led and transferred recovery practices, including restoring livelihoods, educating homeowners on safe construction practices, training masons, setting up sustainable community enterprises and enabling grassroots women to act as community information managers and monitors in government reconstruction programs.

  • Their mobilization helped transform large-scale disaster recovery and reconstruction processes into empowerment and development opportunities.

Specifically, two of the worst-affected districts of Tamil Nadu were Nagapattinam, where 196,184 people were affected, and Cuddalore, where 99,704 were affected. In these districts, mainstream recovery and reconstruction processes focused primarily on house reconstruction and restoring livelihoods in the fishing and agricultural sectors—overlooking women’s long-term health and sanitation concerns. Women in these districts organized to address the ‘health gap’ in their communities and they continue to sustain, transfer and expand their work, long after relief and recovery programs have ended.