Help us empower these women from rural Manipur

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About the Fundraiser
The education and empowerment of women throughout the world cannot fail to result in a more caring, tolerant and peaceful life for all – Aung San Suu Kyi

Abstract:Most women in rural areas are contributing in small and large ways to overall household income and at the same time facilitating others within the household to earn livelihoods. Due to several reasons the state of livelihoods and level of income generation in rural trails remains abysmal. To catalyze and catapult poverty alleviation, and break the vicious cycle of inter-generational rural poverty in India, bottom-up decentralized and holistic approach is the need of the hour; an approach that goes beyond increased income generation to encompass essential elements such as dignity and respect for rural trails,equal opportunities for all men and women,preservation of rural culture, skills and knowledge–conservation of rural resources and inclusive and peaceful communities.

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Introduction: Our Development organization ANMA-Integrated Development Association (AIDA),Nagaland celebrates the role women play, in improving overall quality of life within their own households as well as of their surrounding community. It invests in rural women to help them reach their full potential by imparting life skills and strengthening their position in the society, in turn building competence, elevating confidence and feathering aspirations. We envision a North East India, where diverse communities live in peace and harmony, work to achieve their potential, cherish and care for all creations, and collaborate to build a just and humane world.

Our story: Around 1.5 years ago, I,Naireeta Biswas, arrived at this remote village of Manipur for 13 months as part of my SBI Youth for India Fellowship.

During my initial days as a fellow, I realized that for the villagers residing at these remote hinterlands, agriculture can be an extremely risky prospect because of limited house holdings and unpredictable output; also,agriculture produce is mainly used for consumption rather than income generation. In such cases, it is extremely essential to diversify the sources of livelihood instead of being dependent on one source of income.Many women back then voiced a desire to increase household income through vocational activities that can be done locally to reduce dependency on traditional or existing sources of income.

 

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The ideation phase, saw me gauging possibilities of generating multiple sources of income generation for the beneficiaries through the skills learnt and refined –

• Alteration and stitching work for community members and neighboring villages

• Merchandise that meets essential needs of the community members

• Merchandise that has demand in close by local markets (urban and peri-urban)

As a part of my fellowship,I worked with 7 rural women of Manipur. These women came from the village of Tharon in Tamenglong district,which is approximately 185 kms. away from the capital city of Imphal (It takes 7-8 hours by road to reach the village from Imphal). The women were given elementary tailoring and stitching skills for 3 months and were given a tailoring machine each after the completion of the course with the hope that the equipment helps them practice the learnt skills and have a secondary source to supplement household income.

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Another key aspect of this project was to introduce the age-old skill of using back strap-loom,also known as the loin loom, complemented with tribal colours and patterns and create an opportunity to design,prototype,test and pilot an intervention model.Despite the rich tribal culture of North Eastern Region of India and the legacy of using loin looms, one of the oldest known practices of weaving, it is not visible on mainstream retail shelves; let aside the story of its makers and the maker’s culture, traditions. The major factors for the current state of neglect and the restricted reach of such artisan merchandise are the geographical isolation, dilapidated state of infrastructure and trade in the said region, lacking awareness of value for such skills and products in the world, and most importantly the subsistence and humble lifestyle of its makers.With an aim of conserving and promoting tribal culture, knowledge and skills of North East Region (NER) of India, these women were engaged in making handcrafted woven and stitched merchandise.

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What next?

To prove and refine this venture of developing a market-based social enterprise model in order to generate sustainable rural livelihoods for these women through rural crafts,and to establish,scale and replicate the venture, the following key activities have been planned for the next 12 months :

• Include another 5 weavers in the 1st batch based on better understanding of the needed scale, scope and depth of impact. These women will be the initial torch-bearers to inspire and enable other women to join this initiative.

• Setting up a community center and a stitching unit in the village where our regular meetings can take place,workshops can take place and it also acts as a common area for our artisans to come and work there.

• Introducing the women to basic design elements, use of colours, exposure to new markets, promotion, costing, sales and marketing, introduction to social media to set up an online shop to reach a wider audience.

• Skill-building workshops on hand spinning (Cotton,Silk,Wool),natural dyeing,brown cotton cultivation.

• Develop a robust financial model that assures viability and feasibility of the venture but also ensures continued growth in skills, capacities and income generation of the beneficiaries.

• Pilot an enterprise based sustainable intervention model that provides a dignified and fair source of livelihood, and enhanced economic security, to rural women.

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How do we plan to spend the funds?

A total of Rs. 4,50,000 is required to carry out the above mentioned activities for this year.

• Skill-building and design workshops for a year– Rs. 1,50,000

• Procurement of raw materials and equipments for a year – Rs. 25,000

• Remuneration fees to our weavers for a year – Rs. 2,50,000

• Monitoring and Evaluation expenses for a year – Rs. 25,000

These are approximate expense breakup and final expenses shall be updated with a report on what we have achieved . We promise to update you via email on all aspects as soon as work commences and milestones are achieved.

AIDA is an 80G and FCRA registered NGO capable of receiving domestic and foreign funding support with applicable tax deductions for the donor.

How can you help?

Every little contribution will enable these women to have a dignified and a sustainable source of income and help pollinate socio-economic security for these tribal women of Tharon village.

We also request you to spread the awareness of our campaign through your family and friends.Your help will go a long way in making this project a successful one.

 


Transfer directly to the Bank account of this Fundraiser

Note: Only INR transfers are allowed.

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