Remember ME - You Me and Dementia

Friday, July 31, 2009

Poor women turn company directors

In a unique step towards self-empowerment, a group of marginalised women in a western Indian city has set up a company to manufacture plastic bags. The objective is to provide livelihood opportunities to other poor women and not profit generation for the owners.

Chanda Bande, a resident of the industrial township of Pimpri Chinchwad near Pune in Western Maharashtra, has been trying to eke out a living by selling vegetables for as long as she can remember.

No longer. She is now going to be one of the owners of a company set up to manufacture polythene sheets, plastic bags and tarpaulin sheets.

“Ever since I was a teenager, I started selling vegetables on a handcart. I didn’t know of any other option and life for me had come to a dead end. Then I happened to meet a social activist who suggested that I should start a women’s savings group (WSG) in our locality to be able to save money and utilise it in the form of loans to one another,” says Chanda.

“We have been doing this for more than five years now. And I am proud to say that things progressed very well and today I am in a position to offer employment to other poor women,” she adds.

This unique story of self-empowerment has now taken shape in the form of a company that has been set up at a cost of Rs 10 million in Talawade along the Dehu-Alandi Road.

The 160 women who are owners of this company have come together under the aegis of the Swamini Mahila Bachat Gat Akhil Sangh (SMBGAS) – the apex body of various women’s small savings groups in the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) area.

What makes it more interesting is that even before their unit is formally inaugurated, they have managed to tie up with a Pune-based firm, which will supply these plastic bags to Dubai.

The company will provide employment to 70 members of the SMBGAS.

“We have signed a contract of seven years with a firm called Sumedh Polymers which will export our plastic bags. The raw material will be supplied by this company and we will provide them with the finished goods as per the quality specifications laid down by them, says Sulabha Ubale, President, Pimpri Chinchwad Mahila Mandal Mahasangh.

“The primary objective of setting up such a unit is to provide an opportunity to earn for poor women. It is not for generating profits for the owners,” she said.

According to Swati Mazumdar, President, SMBGAS: “A total of 11 WSGs were formed in the Pimpri Chinchwad area around 15 months ago and besides the savings generated by these WSGs, the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation’s Women & Child Welfare Department has provided financial support to these groups under its various schemes.”

The investment of Rs 10 million includes a subsidy of Rs three million from the PCMC, contribution by the women of Rs two million and a loan of Rs five million from the Bank of Baroda.

“Each of the WSGs gave at least Rs 100,000 to set up this unit. We will now pay out dividends on this investment to these women,” Mazumdar states.

Such an initiative has obviously delighted the women of the WSGs, especially Ranjana Akarse who has been selling plastic bags for 25 years.

“I had never dreamt that one day I would be the part-owner of a company that manufactures them,” she says.


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.


workhard said...
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workhard said...

This is a very interesting post

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