Most women in rural India are never given the opportunity or the appropriate education to be able to make a livelihood in any field other than manual labour. Furthermore, obtaining money in return for labour and services requires a great deal of exertion, tolerance and stamina. They bear the brunt of poor economic settings, and from a very young age are handed the responsibility of managing the household system. Since they are financially dependent and unaware of their basic rights, women in rural areas are more in jeopardy of facing domestic violence and ruthlessness.
Empowerment of women in villages and the improvement of their social, educational, financial and health status is something that needs to be treated as a priority. The improved status of women leads to capacity building in all the spheres of life, which is essential for the persistence of development.
“My husband has difficulty in speech and hearing. Previously, he used to stitch around 5-10 pieces of cloth in a month, and the earnings were not enough. My husband and I then joined SEEDS (Social Empowerment and Economic Development Society), and the training provided at the production unit has helped us increase our speed and productivity,” says Sameera Mastan, Duttalur, SPSR Nellore District, Andhra Pradesh.
SEEDS believes the way to achieve inclusive growth in rural India is to provide unemployed youth and women with means of a sustainable livelihood. This calls for providing them with the relevant skills to a degree, sufficient for them to be productively and immediately employable in the burgeoning manufacturing and services sectors of India’s economy.
Under Project LEED (Local area Education and Economic Development), SEEDS Kaushal aims at identifying livelihood opportunities and building capacities by imparting specialised vocational skill trainings. The intent is to develop livelihoods, based on local resources, including promotion of traditional skills, arts and crafts, through technical, design and marketing support. “Despite completing my ITI for an electrician, I couldn’t find a job in my field and started helping my father as a painter. at SEEDS, I got trained as a Solar PV Technician, and am now working in Hyderabad for a decent salary,” says Karim.
Venkata Rao, who received training in the same domain, adds that during his training he not only got to improve his soft skills, but also his computer skills; this helped him get a job in a reputed company in Bangalore. Today, he is working as a junior engineer for a TATA solar project.
Various vocational training courses such as Sewing Machine Operator, Retail Sales. Computer Operation, Mobile Servicing, and Solar Electricians are being offered. The Sewing Machine Operator training has provided skilling to over 1200 women on the Duttalur campus alone; of these, over 800 women have found employment in the apparel industry, with some even opting to stay on with SEEDS to work in their own apparel production unit on the campus. For all of the women employed here, life has changed for the better. They all now have access to a steady source of income and a means of supporting themselves.