The primary occupation in villages in rural Madhya Pradesh remains as agriculture and animal husbandry. The dominant agricultural produce of the State includes cotton, groundnuts (peanuts), dates and sugarcane. The climate conditions here remain harsh and often women, who work as labourers on these fields, spend their days on the field so they can earn for their families. Mostly, the households these women take care of is comprised of 5 members, and they sustain on an average monthly income of $95. Apart from farming, women engage in sewing, tailoring, snacks making, accessories business, etc.
The local village market or ‘mandi’ becomes their location to sell these products. Often, 4-5 villages come together to organize a huge market on a weekly basis. The menfolk work in the villages or migrate to the nearest towns for better income opportunities. The cities are far from the villages and often connectivity is poor. This makes it harder to ensure the families in Gujarat earn their daily income.
As a result, women want to begin their own small enterprises to add to their household income and, support their children’s education against all odds. Shakti Mahila Sangh Bahu Uddeshiya, is an organization working in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh since 2007 which has programs implemented for empowering women from such communities in Gujarat. They are taking the initiative to support and strengthen the small enterprises started by women in these small villages.
210 women seek a loan from Shakti Mahila Sangh Bahu Uddeshiya to expand their tailoring, saree, broom, grocery, poultry, masala and other businesses.