Empowering women socially and financially to work towards generating livelihood and to develop leadership skills
This project aims at empowering women socially and financially to work towards generating livelihood and to develop leadership skills. With IDS help, support was provided to 30 villages, benefitting 400 women. These women participated in several Self Help Groups (SHG) and used the funds for various income generating activities including farm work, goat and buffalo rearing, sewing machine, flour mill , grocery shop. Etc. Interestingly, they also learnt to grow kitchen gardens in organic way, grew and sold vegetables, and also consumed them for their own personal use. This enabled them to have sustained income. During 2020, due to pandemic lockdown, some of these activities did suffer. But the women learnt the most important thing: to work as a team and to look after each other, especially those who were affected badly by the pandemic. They supported each other in many different ways: some of these women donated free vegetables to 60 families 8-10 times during the pandemic; women running grocery stores, lent free ration to needy families; others made and distributed 300 masks free of charge;, and the village women forum, Sakhi Manch, educated villagers about health, education, how to access various government schemes etc.
IDS also provided additional $2800 for COVID-19 relief work to provide ration to 400 very needy families in 25 villages.
Case study: Bharati Pawar, from a small village, is a shining example of what can be achieved if the right kind of support is provided at the right time. Bharati’s husband was alcoholic and abusive. She decided to take her two children and leave her husband. Her husband promised not to drink and she went back with him; but the same cycle of alcohol and abuse continued. In the meantime, Bharati learnt about being ASHA worker and became an ASHA worker on her own. She also found out about the women’s SHG of Samavesh and obtained a loan of Rs 10,000. With that money, she bought a sewing machine and started sewing clothes. She is now able to generate a profit of Rs 100-200 per day. She is also continuing with ASHA work; she is very capable and liked by the women she visits. She is also able to support education for her children. During the lockdown she inspired her community about the need for masks and social distancing. She collaborated in the distribution of the masks, and provided health checkup for the people in need.