New Opportunities

Mrs. Sheela Kurian and her family come from Kottayam, Kerala in the south of India. When the family joined SAFP’s Family Development Program in March 2007, they were unable to meet their daily expenses. Their children’s education was at stake as the family could not afford to send both their son and daughter to school. Mr. Kurian was unable to work as he suffered from severe pain in his lower back.

At the time of selection, the family owned 0.03 acres of land and they were able to mobilize both government and local resources to reconstruct their house. Through monitoring visits, local SAFP staff identified Mrs. Sheela’s motivation and enthusiasm in starting an income generation project and encouraged her to attend driving school. She was able to graduate from driving school and wished to start her own taxi service but did not have the funding to purchase a vehicle. With the support of SAFP staff, and through networking with other community organizations she was able to access a grant subsidy from the Kerala State Government of $2098.00, under the Women Taxi Promotion Program.

On November 17th, 2012, her taxi business was officially inaugurated by the Honorable District Collector. Through this business, she is able to make a profit of $104.00 a month. Her husband is very supportive of her and now he is also able to work by driving an auto rickshaw. Their son Ajmal has completed 12th grade and has applied to take computer technology courses in college, and their daughter Ashna has successfully completed 6th grade.