SEWA MAHILA JYOTI – Non Farm Livelihood Initiative
The pivotal objective of Sewa Mahila Jyoti is women empowerment through turning skill into a livelihood. The activities are based around creating livelihood opportunities through local arts and crafts. In a rain-fed country like ours when global warming is on the rise and farmer suicides due to crop failure are rampant we need to find solutions to problems occurring from crop failure or climate calamities. Apart from investing technologies in increasing the resilience to climate change, we also need to think out of the box to provide more alternate means of livelihood to the farming community and especially women. This serves the twin purpose of making women financially independent by strengthening SHG network and also boosting the local crafts by skill development of the masses.
- TRAINING IN KNITTING CENTERS – Knitting is the traditional activity that has been practised by women, especially so of the hilly regions, since millennials. This skill, provides a natural market for itself in and around this region. Our aim in training the women is to align their craft with the market driven demand for the product. The centers have trainers to train the beneficiaries and guide them.The centers are equipped with modern machines that the trainees learn to operate with the help of trainers.
- PARTICIPATION IN FAIRS AND EXHIBITIONS – To make their visibility in the market, the SHGs are encouraged to participate in the various exhibitions held in and outside the state in Agastyamuni, New Delhi, Dehradun etc. The fairs act as a local market so that the members are able to sell their products to the local population itself.
- MARKETING OF WOOLEN PRODUCTS – Given the fact that the woolen products from the Kumaoni and Garhwali culture, their beautifully woven caps, sweaters and shawls are in demand all through the country, special emphasis is placed on marketing of the products so as to develop a sense of entrepreneurship in the women and make them understand the nuances of business. The marketing is done through display in various exhibition and events in and outside the state.
- VILLAGE COMMUNITY TRAINING – The training model followed in the clusters is in two forms. The SHG members can get training either by visiting the training centers or through community training. This is being done to make the learning available at the doorstep to those who cannot come to the centers. Also, a more localised training allows us to give the basic, preliminary training to the women at a large scale. The training helps in creating opportunities for these women to open their own ventures in the near future.
- VOLUNTEER VISITS – Regular volunteer visits are carried out throughout the clusters to give the volunteers a ground-level view of the different activities undertaken. The volunteers with their experience and exposure of the market trends bring in a fresh perspective. They help formulate and draft the marketing strategy. The volunteers especially the youth interact with the local population thus giving them fresh, innovative ideas to improve their business and to explore more livelihood options.
- RINGAL PRODUCTION – Bamboo craft is practiced in many places of Uttarakhand due to abundant availability of rich quality and variety of species of bamboo in local forest. Among the species of bamboo, Ringal is one of the bamboo species. The farmers fetch the ringal bamboo from the forest in October to November and weave the baskets in the winter when there is not much work in fields. The finished baskets are mainly used for storing grains and supplements and carrying purposes. Some baskets are ornamented with plain weaves. Ringal Bamboo products are tough and durable.
MILESTONES AT A GLANCE
- 6 Knitting centers, 9 community centers, 3 production centers and 1 Ringal handicraft training camp functioning so far.
- A total of more than Rs 1.75 lakh generated by sales in different exhibitions.
- An additional Rs 46,000 earned by the marketing of woolen products in Dehradun, Agastyamuni, Pokhari etc
- SHG Madmaheshwar formed to work especially on Ringal Production.
- A total of about 700 beneficiaries trained so far under different activities.