Self-Help Affinity Groups meet every week. They save. They penalise one another for shortcomings. The watchword is precision.

We see this also in the watch factory owned by 380 women from 22 Self-help Affinity Groups. We observe the process from making the frame, polishing the gold, assembling what looked like hundreds of parts with painstaking accuracy until the product was complete.

The women work in a series of houses, sealed to keep out the dust. They have no room for error. In the corner of every room the customer’s quality assurance people check every detail. The walls are decked out with charts and figures of targets set and achieved. The figures never dip below 92%, and there are plenty of perfect scores, the reason why the customer keeps coming back for more.

To some extent the precision of the Indian groups can be traced back to MYRADA, and from the outlook of its founder Aloysius Fernandez. It is rooted in his hard empathy. Getting it right means saying the hard things, it involves punishment and forgiveness, it is continually offering a new opportunity and following up to see if the offer is taken up.

In visiting team’s reflections at the end, Adele said something along the lines of “In India, Self-help Affinity Groups and Self-Help Groups are a necessity. Too often in Scotland we treat them as a hobby.

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