March 2010: The Church of Scotland’s Ministries Council agrees to explore the women’s self-help group movement in India. Started in the 1980s, there are now nearly 8 million of these groups with over a 100 million women involved. The movement has become a powerful model for social and economic change involving women and improving their lives as well as those of their families and neighbourhoods.
August 2010: A group of 13 women from 7 least understood communities in Glasgow start meeting together to study and understand the ethos and impact of the Indian self-help group model.
January 2011: The women travel to Mumbai and Gujarat in India – the trip is called ‘Passage to India’ – to learn to interact with women involved in the self-help group movement. The group not only come face-to-face with grinding poverty but also find a deep sense of resilience and confidence amongst the women they encountered and a model they believe can help change the lives of women and their families back home in Scotland (www.apassagetoindia-pa.blogspot.com).
February 2011: On their return, the Glaswegians share the stories of inspiring Indian women they have met and their own life-transforming experience to a gathering of over 150 people and announce their plans to launch Scotland’s first women’s Self-Reliant Groups (SRGs). Passage to India is now renamed as Passage from India.
March 2011: The first SRG in Scotland is started by 8 women in the Provanmill community of Glasgow. Saving £1 each every week, they establish a successful Lunch Club for their community in the premises of St. Paul’s Church in Provanmill.
November 2011: The Church of Scotland Guild chooses Passage from India as one of the 6 projects they will sponsor from 2012-2015. Money raised goes towards establishing the Microfinance initiative.
May 2012: Passage from India becomes an independent Scottish Charity.
September 2013: Women@Work in Provanmill SRG goes on to establish a Community Interest Company, receives a small loan and launch ‘Fluff & Fold’, a Laundrette business.
October 2013: Scottish Government announces funding that helps recruit a dedicated 3-member staff team to grow the SRG movement.
April 2014: Passage from India is rebranded and launched as WEvolution (taking its cue from ‘we’ and ‘change’: change as a combined activity).