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Rural Women Become Sole Breadwinners During the Pandemic

In Kerala
February 24, 2022

When the pandemic hit, most of the people who were daily wage workers lost their jobs. It was during this time that women associated with Industree Foundation’s POWER project took charge and became the sole breadwinners for their families. These women are now also training other women from their areas to become financially independent and gain recognition in society.

POWER (Producer Owned Women Enterprises) Project focuses on providing valuable training to women in rural areas and empowers them to become micro-entrepreneurs. The training program enables women to make beautiful and sustainable products from natural fiber like Banana, Bamboo, and NTFP that prevent damage to the environment.

Deena Dayana Giri V, a weaver from Karnataka working with the Bamboo value chain comes from a five-member family. The pandemic situation has rendered both her father and brother jobless. Deena’s mother was financially supporting the family through the SHG (Self Help Group) that she was part of before she too was laid off. Joining the initiative promoted under the POWER project provided Deena with a steady income and her confidence was enhanced through learning skills propagated by the various training programs conducted by the Industree Foundation. The income that she earns has empowered her to support her family and she believes that it can benefit more people who come from similar backgrounds. Deena says, “The opportunity to work in the bamboo unit is seen with great hope and I can earn for myself and support my family.”

Rani Mallick, aged 55, lives with a family of 7 in the village of Jamapadar, Odisha. She had completed her education only till standard 2, falling under primary education. Prior to working with Industree Foundation, she was working as a seasonal farmer, but prominently as a turmeric farmer. In a family of 7, it was hard to make a decent living and cover the basic costs and necessities. Having heard about the Foundation and the training provided under the POWER project and Rani Mallick is working in the K. Nuagon unit, which helped her meet livelihood needs. During the Covid, when no one in the house had a job, she was able to earn, which has helped her family crisis to subside to a large extent. Happy to work with the Industree Foundation, she is thankful for stipend money and also for the masks. She says ’I am very much privileged to receive Gender & 6Y training’.

Industree’s priority in this time of crisis was to help their artisans stay secure and to fuel their resilience. Encouraging resilience is the need of the hour for women like Rani Mallick, who are facing uncompromising obstacles. Also, strong support in terms of skills and training, which delivers decent income levels, assists them to remain resilient amidst adversity.

Chermaselvi, a weaver from Tamil Nadu has studied till 12th standard and she wanted to pursue higher education, but due to her family situation she got married at the age of 18th and she was not able to continue her higher education. She has one girl child. During the Covid situation, her husband could not continue his business so she used to do tailoring and weaving baskets to earn her living. She came to the organization in the month of February. She expressed her love for the organization by saying, “I was given the training to weave Vinter Basket. Initially, I was able to weave 5 baskets per day, after continued practice, I was able to weave 25 baskets per day. In the month, I earned Twelve Thousand Rupees. As I was a good achiever in weaving I received a gift from the company. I love this work so much. This is my first job working from home and I am able to take care of my child.”