Aide et Action encourages villagers to become self-reliant to resist the difficulties linked to the crisis


The partial or total suspension of activity, due to the COVID-19 crisis, deprives millions of people of their sources of income. This is the case of Reena Paniwal and her husband Sunil, in India. To support them, Aide et Action encourages them and other villagers to follow a development and empowerment initiative.


In 2019 Aide et Action in partnership with the Eicher Group Foundation launched the “Sashakt Gram” project, a development and empowerment initiative in 14 communities in Madhya Pradesh, India. The project promotes mutual aid and encourages villagers to take ownership of the development of their community.

Becoming a seamstress to be independent
Member of one of the groups supported by Aide et Action within the framework of the project, Reena Paniwal contacted the team of “Sashakt Gram” and expressed her willingness to contribute to one of the activities put in place: the manufacturing of re-usable fabric face masks. With the demand for face masks having increased dramatically in recent months, it has become difficult to meet the ever-increasing needs of the population. That’s why more such actions are underway in different states of the country. Since then, Reena has produced 8,000 face masks and has been supported by a clothing company that has helped her continue her business as a seamstress.
Impressed with her work and her commitment, Aide et Action awarded her a grant to help her start her sewing workshop. In addition, Reena can count on the help of Sunil, her husband, who collects the fabrics needed to make the masks and travels to neighbouring villages to sell them.

Cultivate your vegetable garden to raise awareness about the importance of nutrition
In September, as part of National Nutrition Month, the 14 community collectives of the Sashakt Gram Initiative, with the support of Aide et Action, began to cultivate and develop home gardens. The “vegetable garden” project aims above all to make the population aware of the importance of a varied, balanced and locally produced diet and nutrition. It encourages the autonomy of families and communities, especially in this time of health and economic crisis.

So far, 150 families have benefited from the project and own their vegetable gardens and grow tomatoes, pumpkins, beans, okra and chili peppers. Inspired by the project, nearly 1,500 other families have already expressed their interest and also want to develop their own vegetable garden.