Building the Capacities of Self-Help Groups
The Indian Constitution guarantees that there shall be no discrimination on the grounds of gender. In reality, however, rural women have harder lives and are often discriminated against with regard to land and property rights, and in access to medical facilities and rural finance. Women undertake the more onerous tasks involved in the day-to-day running of households, including the collection of fuel wood for cooking and the fetching of drinking water, and their nutritional status and literacy rates are lower than those of men. They also command lower wages as labour: as rural non-agricultural labourers, women earn 44 rupees per day compared to 67 rupees for men. Key instruments for supporting women’s empowerment are Self-Help Groups, whereby 10-20 rural women from the same village come together to start an income-generating activity.
The Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation supports Yashaswini Samajik Abhiyan (YSA) in undertaking and promoting economic, educational, cultural and social activities for the well-being of women belonging to the socially and economically weaker section of society. This project also involves the promotion of small scale businesses, and the development of a market in India and abroad for the supply of goods manufactured and produced by local producers and Self-Help Groups. As part of this project, the Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation also supports capacity-building at these SHGs, enabling them to promote and market the products that they make.
The support rendered by the Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation has helped the SHG members to develop their business potential and to avail monetary benefits. It has also helped YSA to concentrate on improving the health and education of the women in these Self-Help Groups. With the support of the Foundation, YSA is also able to give training, guidance and marketing support to the products made by the Self-Help Groups.
Founded in 2008, Yashaswini Samajik Abhiyan is a non-profit venture of the Yashwantrao Chavan Prathistan, Mumbai. Its main objectives are to undertake and promote economic, educational, cultural and social activities for underprivileged groups.