Mumbai: Housing non-profit organisation Habitat for Humanity India has partnered with Standard Chartered Bank to provide 969 women with upskilling, alternative livelihood opportunities, and assistance in establishing micro-enterprises to generate additional income. The project is known as Empowering Women and Improving Life through Livelihood Interventions.
These women are from the States of Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, and Odisha. The aim of this project is to equip the women with leadership and technical skills, engage them in income generation activities and empower them to achieve the strength, stability, and self-reliance they need to build a better life for themselves and their families.
This initiative was accomplished by forming and strengthening 85 Self-Help Groups (SHG) across the three States, through which women were brought together, and trained in business development, marketing, and government scheme comprehension. The SHGs were assisted in establishing their own businesses through seed funding, hand-holding, and multi-level technical training from Habitat’s subject matter experts. In addition, SHGs members were encouraged to open bank accounts for their new businesses and keep financial records.
Kranti Tambe, an SHG member and a budding entrepreneur from Osmanabad district in Maharashtra, said, “I knew nothing about running an enterprise, let alone handling a dairy business. But the unity of fellow women from our Self-Help Group, in-depth training, and the handholding support we received from Habitat helped me regain my confidence. I feel stronger knowing that I am providing for my family. Nothing is impossible when women come together.”
Commenting on the initiative, Dr. Rajan Samuel, Managing Director of Habitat for Humanity India, said, “Since 2020, COVID-19 restrictions and the subsequent global lockdown have had a profound impact on the rural economy and quality of life of rural Indian families. Families in which the woman is the sole breadwinner went through severe financial difficulties. As women agricultural labourers earn less than their male counterparts, we felt that empowering these women through livelihood opportunities was the best way to help their families live better, healthier, and more financially stable lives. We are thankful to Standard Chartered Bank for their support.”
“We firmly believe that women are the torchbearers for new India’s social, economic, and environmental development. Our changemakers initiative aims to empower women so that the female workforce can bring about a paradigm shift toward economic growth. It was a pleasure to collaborate with Habitat for Humanity India in this project to provide alternative and unique livelihood opportunities for these inspiring women,” said Karuna Bhatia, Head of Sustainability, India, Standard Chartered Bank.
The thematic areas for micro-enterprises were categorised into three areas namely agriculture which included vegetable cultivation of crops such as mushrooms, brinjal, tomatoes, etc; agro-allied activities such as dairy, poultry, goat rearing; and home-based enterprises which involved making detergents, paper-plates, spices, and dal milling.