The primary occupation in villages in rural Gujarat 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 laborers 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.
Saath Mahila is an NGO based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Saath Mahila closely works with the vulnerable communities and empowers the socially marginalized by providing them livelihood linkages, imparting skills leading to employment, health and education facilities. The focus areas of Saath are livelihoods, skill development, health and education, rights, urban governance, financial inclusion, rehabilitation and resettlement, and other community development initiatives.
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. Saath Mahila has empowerment programs for rural women across Gujarat.
53 women seek a loan from Saath Mahila to expand their farming business, tailoring, saree, broom, grocery, animal husbandry, and other businesses.