Last September,while praying at Vishrantwadi temple Manju Nambiar had a thought. She always wanted to do something for the empowerment of women but had no clue how to go about it. Thats when her native states one of the most successful endeavours came to her mind starting a Kudumbasree unit in Pune.
Kudumbasree,a Kerala government initiative,was started in 1998 for wiping out absolute poverty from the state through concerted community action under the leadership of local
The project included forming small micro economic units and helping housewives form small scale cottage industries in groups. This helped in financially securing the lives of millions of families in Kerala and is considered to be a path-breaking scheme to promote women empowerment.
The Kudumbasree unit in Vishrantwadi is named Amma and consists of 10 members as of now. Last Onam,we brought traditional clothes from Coimbatore in bulk and sold them at the temple premises. It was a huge success and the profit was kept as a capital for future, said Nambiar.
The members have also set up a micro-finance unit where a monthly contribution of Rs 1000 is deposited by them. They have a capital of Rs 1 lakh in their kitty and have also started a food processing unit at their homes. Nowadays,the food items that we get are adulterated. We used buy rice,chilly,turmeric etc. as raw products from the market and then sold it to people we knew. But recently,after getting a good response from our buyers we have tied-up with a local mill. Now,the Malayalee stores across Pune demand for our products as they are relatively cheaper than the ones imported from Kerala, said Manju.
The group also wants to venture into social work by helping people from low-income groups by providing them with money in time of need.
Orphanages get donations but there is no such provision for lower middle class families. We have decided to set aside a certain amount of money and after identifying the needy families,we will give them a lump sum amount whenever they are in dire need, said Sindhu,a Kudumbasree member.
In the next two years,she wants the unit to grow into a small scale industry that provides packaged,authentic,ready-to-eat and unadulterated south Indian dishes across Pune. This will also help in securing a full-time employment to women in the surrounding areas.
The present corporation budget and even the Prime Ministers funds have designated a certain amount of money to women entrepreneurs but for that we need to work in a more organised manner and get ourselves registered. Within one year,we hope to get government approval and grow into a successful organisation, said Nambiar.