Project Pehchaan,is a program to empower and give a sense of identity to women home based workers. Home based work is defined as remunerative work done within or adjacent to residential premises. Home based workers can be either self employed or they work as contractors for an intermediary. In both cases, they work for long hours and earn very low piece rates which makes it difficult for them to earn profits from the work and improve their socio economic status. Since the workers are scattered, they have no collective bargaining power and further since most of the home based workers are women, their labour is not often seen as “work” and the remuneration is not commensurate with the effort.
The project is currently active in Talabkatta Slum (the old city of Hyderabad) because this area is home to a large number of home based artisans, especially women who work on making lac bangles. Under this initiative, we are doing the following interventions:
- SHG formation and management- this is the core activity of the project. We try to bring as many women as possible to the platform of SHG as a step for empowerment. Each group meets twice a month. Kriti team is responsible for conducting the meetings, bookkeeping and updating the data on software.
- Providing access to savings and credit through self help group model.
- Providing additional skills training to the women - tailoring, hand embroidery, entrepreneurship courses, design workshops for lac bangle making
- Artisan registration - the Development Commissioner Handicrafts issues Artisan cards for men and women involved in craft based activities. These cards will give the artisans access to market linkage programs by the government and also qualify them to participate in any government sponsored skill development workshops. We are helping the artisans to get registered.
- Capacity building training - we are working with the women and the Self Help groups to provide training on management of groups, discipline,sustainability of SHGs, gender roles, leadership, nutrition, management of diseases and other topics aimed to improve practical knowledge and develop a sense of agency amongst the women
- Market interventions - Kriti is also providing design inputs and marketing the bangles through its website Lac bangles | Kritikala - Kriti Sustainable Livelihoods We look forward to receiving bulk orders for these beautiful handcrafted bangles for gifting. The artisans also get an opportunity to display their bangles at corporate offices stalls. We also take bulk orders for the home based tailors and are coordinated by the team along with the tailoring supervisor.
- Collaboration: We collaborated with SAFA for entrepreneurship training for women. Two batches of training were completed and women were helped to start their businesses and set up stalls at various places in the old city. We have collaborated with MY choices organization also who work with women on domestic violence. They take regular sessions with the women. Women also get opportunities to visit corporate offices and interact with employees and learn about banking and financial literacy.
Status of self help groups (As on September 2023):
- Number of SHGs formed: 24
- Total number of women in SHG:267
- Area covered: Talabkatta & Yakutpura
- Cumulative Savings: RS. 7,20,175
- Loans outstanding with members : 11.5 lacs
Process of self help group formation:
Mobilization:Women are mobilized for the formation of SHGs through door-to-door visits, followed by two meetings.They are informed about the importance of saving and having access to collateral-free loans. We have reached out to over 2000 women in Talabkatta during September 2021 to March 2022.
Home visits and screening:Following the meetings,community mobilizers visit the women's homes to discuss their willingness to join the group, clarify any doubts, and conduct a thorough screening of members.
Group Formation: After attending the first two awareness meetings, women attend group formation meetings where the group is formally formed, by laws are documented and the group's name and leaders are decided.
Monthly Meetings: After the group is formed, the members meet twice a month. Savings are collected, loans are disbursed and all activities are recorded during the meetings.
Access to credit: the group members get access to credit in two ways:
- Internal lending loans - the savings amount collected from the members is made available to group members who require short term loans. This activity starts within three months of group formation. Over two - three years as the savings corpus grows, this is an excellent source of emergency funding for the group members.
- Revolving fund or bank linkage loans - after a period of 6-8 months, depending on the regular savings and meetings discipline shown by the groups, they become eligible for larger loans from a revolving fund established by Kriti. Eventually the groups will be connected to the regular SHG bank linkage model supported by the government.
During this project, we are exploring other ways to engage with the women and to understand and articulate women's empowerment measures. Training and capacity building is a big part of the project, and we are often conducting training sessions with the group leaders and the group members.
To learn more about the process and craft of lac bangle making, please view this video on Youtube