From Victims to Entrepreneurs

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

JAIPUR: A 23-year-old victim of domestic violence, Sudha Sharma, (name changed) of Jaipur is learning basics of social entrepreneurship at a workshop organised by an NGO – Centre for Social Development (CSD) in the city. Until a few months ago, she was physically assault by her inlaws but now she lives separately and is planning to open a small tailoring unit here.

Like Sudha, there are 29 other women, mostly from low income groups participating in the workshop. They all have different ideas to open their own venture. All this is possible because of social activist Manju Rai, director of CSD. Ever since the NGO’s inception in 2003, she is working for women’s empowerment and development of less privileged groups in the society. Her activities involve awareness programmes, conducting research work, imparting vocational training and non-formal education.

Concentrating on financial awareness, skill development, imparting education to migratory children, promotion of entrepreneurship among the youth and conservation of natural resources is also on her agenda. Rai started with creating awareness on breast feeding among low income groups in 2003. They deliberately chose this income group considering the fact that most of them are subjected to malnourishment. “The response was enormous as they weren’t aware of the importance of timely feeding of milk to infants,” added Rai.

Since then, she never looked back and started footloose crèches at the doorstep of construction labourer’s children at construction sites in Jaipur. “These children were left unattended by their parents on fields.We appoint 3-4 member teams to look after the kids. They provide them porridge and toys,” added Rai. She adds that in all her endeavour, people from all walks of life supported her. She taught in school for a few years and quit to become a social worker.

Recently, they came up with a survey report on domestic violence in India with various agencies. The report reveals that women in Rajasthan especially living in urban centres are subjected to domestic violence. Now her mission is to promote women entrepreneurs among economically disadvantaged groups. In this regard, CDS is conducting a workshop entrepreneurship programme for women under Trade Related Entrepreneurship Development scheme launched by ministry of Medium Small and Micro Enterprises, GOI. This is a pilot project introduced for the first time in the state for women empowerment through entrepreneurship.

Source: The Times of India (link opens in a new window)