Skilling rural women to be entrepreneurs

The women trained by Nava Bharat Women’s Empowerment Centre have been making good money by producing household articles made of palm leaves, jute bags and garments, and have received appreciation from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for their efforts and activities.

By Author  |  Published: 18th Jul 2020  12:14 amUpdated: 18th Jul 2020  12:16 am
Women engaged in palm leaf articles weaving at Nava Bharat Women Empowerment Centre at Paloncha in Kothagudem.

Kothagudem: Nava Bharat Rural Development Society, a cooperative society set up by Nava Bharat Ventures Limited in Paloncha as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), has yielded good results in empowering women in rural areas of the district.

The women trained by Nava Bharat Women’s Empowerment Centre have been making good money by producing household articles made of palm leaves, jute bags and garments, and have received appreciation from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for their efforts and activities.

The Society has set up extension centres at Yerragunta and Karakavagu villages to expand its training and self-employment activities, Nava Bharat vice-president Y Srinivasa Murthy told Telangana Today.

Nava Bharat Ventures Limited established the Women’s Empowerment Centre as CSR initiative in 2014. It set up the Rural Development Society in 1981, much before the CSR idea was mooted by the government, to carry out social service activities in rural areas, he said. “We at Nava Bharat lay stress on creating a visible impact in the lives of rural women by creating sustainable livelihood avenues by means of training and self-employment activities with support from NABARD,” Murthy said.

So far, around 2,200 aspirants have been trained at the centre in sanitary napkin making, palm leaf weaving, jute bags and garment making, beautician course, computer courses, tally and DTP. A few have set up their own workshops, while some work at their homes and some at the centre, he said.

For palm leaf articles, the procurement of material and marketing is looked after by Nava Bharat. The products are biodegradable and environmentally friendly. Palm leaves are locally sourced and organic dyes are used, deputy manager (Social Development) M Srinivasa Rao said.

Profitable venture

The women trained at the centre set up Nava Yuga Mutually Aided Cooperative Society in 2018 and the money earned through the sale of products goes to the Society. The money is later distributed among the women depending on their production volume.

The cooperative society has been recording a turnover of Rs 20 lakh for the past few years through the sale of palm leaf articles, face masks, garment and jute bags. On an average, each woman earns around Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 per month, he added.

“We have been exporting palm leaf products to the US, Singapore and Sri Lanka, metro cities like Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Vijayawada and others. In all, we have 50 designs and 110 trained women,” D Amutha, master trainer from Vellore in Tamil Nadu, explained.

Free vocational training soon

Srinivasa Rao said the free vocational training offered by Nava Bharat Vocational Training Institute would recommence its activities soon after the courses were temporarily halted following the lockdown.

Since the Centre and State government allowed holding classes after July 15, candidates with SSC or ITI qualification would be given six- month free training in fitter and welding trades, two-wheeler and air conditioner repairing with a stipend of Rs 1,000 per month, he added.

Awards

NABARD in recognition of the Rural Development Society presented the ‘Outstanding Contributions to Rural Service Award’ to the Society and ‘Successful Entrepreneur Award’ to two women, B Shiva Kumari and P Sujatha of Yerragunta.

Shiva Kumari, who earned an amount of Rs 1.50 lakh by the sale of palm leaf articles, is now the proud owner of a scooter. “I bought the two-wheeler with the money I earned. In the past, I used to reach the centre by foot,” she said, and thanked Nava Bharat for the support.

 


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