The women of Kammavaanpettai village in Tamil Nadu, India have scripted an incredible tale of success. This place was a picture of misery with an acute shortage of water, no agriculture, and frustrated villagers. A large majority of the men there had taken to alcohol, making things worse. 

The Art of Living Water Projects team decided to focus on the womenfolk in the area and urged them to take the lead, and become living symbols of feminine strength. The Rural Happiness courses - a self-empowerment and personal development program equipped the women with the necessary capacity tools to create success for themselves and inspire others to join them. The program instilled in the women a newfound sense of confidence and dignity, and they started working to revive the Naganadi river. 

There are 4 teams working on this project and a total of 85 people are now gainfully employed... “We were asked to dig wells up to a depth of 20 feet. We didn’t believe we could do it. But, once we began, there was no stopping us till the job was done!” beams Anandi, a local village woman working for the project.

Smitha Murthy is vice president - AOL corporate programs and formerly, Principal for Organization Development, Infosys.