“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do” Women Entrepreneurs: Diocese of Cuttack

DBSS Cuttack is making efforts to equip women at the Kathojori Bihar Slum in Cuttack city through various inputs and training programs. The program is designed to address the issues of sustainability in the lives of single mothers & young women who are vulnerable, socially & economically, after migrating to the slum. There are many supporting programs being run like vocational training and income generating activities, Self-help groups and awareness programs. Through these activities, women are trained and supported to create an identity for themselves in the society and slowly but surely become more independent and self-sustained. A Women’s Cooperative Society- “Sree Samparna Cooperative Society” is formed with 172 life members from the community. The cooperative collects savings from each member and gives financial support in emergency, business purpose and personal loan repayable with minimum interest.

Self Help Groups are formed to help women in the slum get organized into a collective for saving money and for investing in livelihood options. They are provided with livelihood skills training in phenyl making, candle making and paper bag making etc. The Women fellowship for Christian Service (WFCS) of Cuttack diocese has been assisting in the whole skill building process.

Stitching new dreams- The Story of Shibani

DBSS Cuttack along with Rotary Club of Cuttack Central has established a Tailoring Training in the slum through which 15 ladies (second batch) are getting trained at present. The ladies will further be equipped to open their own small tailoring shops with some seed money. A beneficiary of first batch of the training – Shibani Das, age 22 years, migrated from Nayagarh district shares- “The main reason our family had to migrate to the slum was lack of employment in my village. After coming to the slum the only source of income was my mother who works as a house maid. Because of the scarce income, survival of the family was at stake since my father was sitting at home jobless. I got to know about the training program and enrolled my name in it. I successfully completed the one-year course and I am now independently working at home and able to earn some regular income of Rs.300 per day to support my mother. This has increased my confidence that with more hard work and regular trainings I will improve my skill and take up more work. My dream is to move out of the slum and become a very good tailor and eventually also go into designing clothes.” Asking on how she feels on women’s development, she says-“I believe that empowering young girls is important because girls should be given equal respect like men. Empowering girls with different livelihood program will help girls and women to be self-dependent. I am also sending my sister to school because I have come to know the importance of good education for a woman.” Further, she has also encouraged three girls from the community to take up the tailoring training run by DBSS.

Apart from livelihood, the Women’s Fellowship along with DBSS does counseling of young girls on family matters, their health, woman & child rights, behavioral changes, and their legal rights. This support plays a major role in achieving the milestones of this empowerment project. They are also in the process to link women to different government schemes available to them, employment opportunities, connecting them to legal aid partners and support them with medical assistance.

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