Tuesday, 22 June 2021 | Pooja Negi | Kotdwar
When small businesses were running low and shut down amidst the Covid pandemic, women entrepreneurs of rural areas kept their work on despite all the problems.
Through the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), women members of self-help groups are making different products and are self-reliant and successful entrepreneurs. Shyama Devi, the president of a self-help group in Fatehpur are of Vikasagar in Dehradun district has trained more than 5,000 women from different districts of Uttarakhand and has a Mahila Jagriti Samooh along with 14 similar groups with 10 women each who work on local production. Each of these self-help groups are given different aspects to work on. One of them is grinding and packing salt, cumin and the ground spices like turmeric and chili. Others are making aloevera gel, fruit juice, pickles, apple jam, jute bags and file folders. These women do everything on their own from making the product to marketing it to the sellers.
Shyama Devi said, “First I adopted the practice of preparing small handicraft items. Later the self-help group members got trained and then employed in making jute bags and non-woven eco-friendly bags which were high on demand at that time due to the ban on polythene bags. National rural livelihood mission is a good initiative for women to be self-reliant as we thrive with our SHG work. Even amidst the pandemic we get up to Rs 10 lakh monthly through SHG work. Some of our work got stalled because there was no order for it but we also get orders for masks and stitched masks in lakhs. Jute bags and some other items were also in high demand.”
Another self help group in Haripur village of Jaunsar-Bawar area in Dehradun district has been doing something similar. Rekha Chaudhary who leads the work has a self-help group of more than 150 women who have started making local products. These women are doing mushroom farming, stitching, making candles, jute bags and have a nursery with 50 different types of plants from fruit to medicinal flora. About how this pandemic affected her business she said that they got more work amidst the pandemic which turned out to be good for business. “We got orders for masks and for packaging of medicines and ration. Nowadays we are making Covid kits on orders which are now been distributed in the different districts.” She has an annual turnover of around Rs 25 lakh.
Shyama Devi and Rekha Chaudhary have been recognised and awarded by the government of Uttarakhand and many other institutions and organisations for their work on women empowerment and rural livelihood related work through self-help groups.