There are many programmes aimed at preserving traditional handicraft forms and others which work for empowering women, but a Self-Help Group in Gujarat has begun a programme for achieving both at the same time.
A Women’s Self-Help Group in Bhat village of Ahmedabad has started providing training to its members in “Khatla Bharat”, a traditional form of handicraft. Khatla means Charpoy in Gujarati, while Bharat is embroidery.
The training will allow the women to acquire skills that will help in improving their economic condition, and enable them to become financially independent.
The Self-Help Group has 55 members, of whom 20 are undergoing the month-long training for Khatla Bharat. Upon completion of the training, the women will be able to earn up to Rs. 5,000 per month by getting orders directly from manufacturing units.
“The earnings from this activity will allow us impart better education and upbringing to our children,” said Paruben, one of the members of the SHG, who is among the women undergoing the training in the initial batch.Hiral, a BA student, said, “This programme will add value to my qualification, and support my education.”
Khatla Bharat was selected as the livelihood activity for imparting training by the SHG in consultation with its members and women from surrounding villages who are doing similar work.
Supported by pharma major Cadila Pharmaceuticals, the SHG is providing technical know-how and financial support to procure materials required for the training. It will also provide hand-holding support to the women to get market linkages, and also impart training in marketing skills to help them expand their business.
The Self-Help Group has started with baby steps, but going ahead, it plans to not only increase the number of women undergoing training for Khatla Bharat, but also plans to provide training to its members to help them kick start their entrepreneurial journeys in tailoring units, beauty parlour, etc., based on their personal interests.
To encourage more women to take advantage of the training programme, the SHG is also hosting motivational and informative sessions with NGOs like SEWA.