SHAPE is a grassroot level organization working among the rural, tribal and urban communities. Most of the people SHAPE works with, have very little or no income. Such people have known nothing but poverty and illiteracy since their birth. Due to this illiteracy problem, most of the people are not qualified for any decent jobs.
Problems faced by such people are countless and unaccountable. Higher caste people don’t employ widowed women and low-caste men in their homes/businesses since it is considered a taboo(Caste System – India). Low caste men with no educational qualification will not travel for work since they do not trust their wives; also they do not let their women make money because of this meaningless doubt. Men who do not work also consider having an income through their wives as an ego problem. These men who stay in their homes team up with other such men to drink. Since they cannot afford liquor legally, they tend to brew their own booze. This method is highly illegal and also may end their lives if brewed wrongly. Such deaths account for 12% of the total National death toll each year(Alcoholic Deaths). This problem has prevailed since the independence of India and despite implementing several Government schemes, the people were not willing to make use of such plans. Seeing the struggle their elders go through, younger generations belonging to the lower castes are often pushed to other high risk behaviors such as prostitution, drugs, etc.
Indian women face a lot of issues since their birth, especially the women belonging to the low caste face immense pressure. These women are family-oriented and are willing to take up any job to provide their family despite these obstacles they face from the society and their household. For instance, the women in the district of Tiruvannamalai, are being denied of proper education and are unqualified for most jobs(Education in India). Their only source of income is Agriculture. Since Tiruvannamalai falls under the drought prone zone category of Tamil Nadu State agricultural lands do not get enough water. Even if there is water, the LandLords are all people belonging to the high caste who then again do not employ these women.
These women are helpless, so SHAPE decided to help them by forming Women Self-Help Groups(WSHGs). These WSHGs have been given financial assistance to start their own businesses. Such Medium-Small-Micro Enterprises(MSMEs) will be able to obtain loan from the Government with a very low interest rate. SHAPE has also helped around 50 men to start business in their own villages. Currently there are over 500 direct and indirect beneficiaries under this project.