'Narishakti' – The power of women in Mumbai

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Self help groups are up and running!

posted Nov 8, 2013 by Catapult Intern

Progress

The execution of the Narishakti project started three months before we actually received funding from Catapult and Global Fund for Women in September 2013. 1. We have concentrated our work among infected and affected women, high risk prone female sex workers and scheduled caste women in urban slums. 2. We succeeded in forming self help and mutual help groups and 1600 women have formed 160 groups of 10 each and all of them registered their groups in the state bank of India and opened their saving accounts. The women were taught how to conduct meetings and share their experiences. Next, they identified suitable micro businesses which the groups of women felt confident of handling. The women identified selling fruits, vegetables, fish, and flowers as well as papad and pickle making, selling potable drinking water, making artificial jewelry, and ready-made clothes tailoring. Cloth and paper bag making, candle and lamp making, Diwali and Christmas sweets making were other options.

Risks and challenges

No challenges to report during the initial period of the grant.

Get personal

Sanmitra Trust did not respond to this question as it was not included in the initially agreed-upon reporting.

Next steps

Now we have a period of six months [( from September 2013 onwards) ] to complete the task of setting up of social infrastructure for economic progress of our women, who are marginalized and who face stigma and discrimination in Indian society.

  • Economic security
  • Education & training
  • HIV/AIDS

Mahdu (name changed), a 20-year-old woman living with HIV who is widowed with two children, is one of thousands of women that The Sanmitra Trust has helped to escape a life of poverty.

Why we care: Women with HIV are severely marginalized in India

How we're solving this: ARV therapy, job training and self help group

Madhu has found a reason to live. Through The Sanmitra Trust’s self help groups (SHGs), she has found a job and a support group, and she is now putting food on the table, sending her children to school, and receiving antiretroviral therapy. She is one of thousands of women that The Sanmitra Trust has helped to escape a life of poverty. Women living with HIV are severely marginalized in India – employers refuse to hire them in fear that other employees will not accept them and that they will miss days of work due to bouts of illness.

In 2009, 6.1 million people were living with HIV in Asia and the Pacific, and of those 2.4 million people were in India, accounting for about half (49%) of the HIV burden.[1] The Sanmitra Trust is doing its part to provide emotional support and economic opportunities to women living with HIV that they never thought they could have. Through SHGs, comprised of 10 to 15 women and a trained peer-counselor, women have new aspirations for their future as they gain job skills training, begin start-up businesses, and connect with other women living with HIV/AIDS. This is also the first time that poor, people living with HIV can gain access to loans through a partnership that The Sanmitra Trust formed with the State Bank of India.

“In 2010, the Indian government awarded The Sanmitra Trust a best performance trophy for organizing marginalized women into self help groups.”

The Sanmitra Trust will extend services to another 500 women in the next six months through an intensive five-day training session to learn how to create solid business models, manage loans responsibly, and setup 50 small businesses. Women will also visit previous SHG groups who have successfully started businesses, attend wholesale markets to buy supplies, and meet with government officials to complete paperwork for their start-ups. SHG women will attend product and job fairs where they will meet women business entrepreneurs and potential business partners.

Celestine, a health clinic worker at The Sanmitra Trust, stands behind the SHG model and says, “I give women a new purpose and hope in life on a daily basis.” Join The Sanmitra Trust and people like Celestine to give women new choices and resources to realize their full potential within society.


UNAIDS 2010 Report on the Global AIDS epidemic. WHO Global Health Observatory Database (WHO/GHO). UN MDG Indicators database

 

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