Swavlamban - To reinvent or upscale the traditional livelihoods

The gradual and painful collapse of the ancestral or traditional livelihoods of tens of thousands of nomadic families has been gravely overlooked by the law makers, planners and the civil society. As a result, we have before us the humongous challenge of rehabilitating some of the poorest communities of our country. Agreed, the development we all so desire is bound to negatively impact some sections of the society, but unfortunately the cost of this rapid development in terms of industrialization and globalization is being endured by people and communities who stand to benefit the least from it. Amongst them are thousands of nomadic and de-notified families VSSM has been working with for almost a decade.

The SWAVLAMBAN program was launched in March 2014 as a response to mitigate the challenges the nomadic families faced to earn a dignified living. Under the program VSSM offers interest-free loans to individuals and families from nomadic communities willing to start their own independent ventures. The initiative is designed to revitalize their occupations, encourage them to form a habit of compulsory monthly saving, help them break free of the debt bondage of private money lenders and improve their financial health. Currently loans worth Rs. 10,25,00,000 (keep growing) are in rotation and continued efforts are made to expand the scope of this program that eventually helps the nomads elevate their standard of living.

Number of individuals helped in
livelihood / Swavlamban
No. of families who are provided tool support
Amount of Support provided for Tool Support


  • A program that was launched to provide financial assistance to improve livelihood had to be extended for medical emergencies, education, disaster rehabilitation, social commitments and repayment of debts of Vadia residents. Basically, it has turned into an initiative that helps the borrower break free from the clutches of private money lenders who provide loan at hefty interest rates which these families find difficult to break free from.
  • It should be noted that of the 5+ crores we have loaned a little under 3 crores has already been recovered.
  • The loans provided for livelihood were used to start 55 types of businesses which includes buying hand carts, camel carts, sewing machines, setting up beauty salon, musical instruments to start a band, carpentry, basketry, starting clothing store, foot-ware store, vegetable store, making statues and much more.
  • The biggest impact of this program can be witnessed in Vadia where the families have freed themselves from the exploitative clutches of private money lenders aka pimps who always offered money in exchange of girls who were later forced into prostitution.