PROJECT TITLE: “Securing rights and sustainable livelihoods through collective action and education for people dependent on the informal economy in India”
Team PIE has been working with Home based women workers in 17 villages in Beerwah block of District Budgam for the past 2 years. Initially the focus was on spreading awareness about the social security schemes, Labour Laws & Provisions available to the artisans through Government & other financial institutions and impart advanced skill sets for improving the art of Sozni.
To kick start the project, 20 semi skilled women were trained and provided with necessary raw materials. They were gradually registered with the department of handicrafts as artisans. The artisan cards will definitely help them avail various benefits (both monetary & non-monetary) which the government reserves for them. The craft (sozini) was chosen for its larger share in handicraft sector of J&K in terms of production, capacity, number of people engaged with the sector and providing market linkages. Till date 24 collectives having more than 270 women artizans have been formed and around 70 meetings have been held where around 500 women participated.
We have organised more than 100 awareness & training programmes through different institutions and Government departments like Handcrafts Department, KWCCL, Department of labour, Department of Social Welfare, Crafts Development Institute, School of Design, Rural Development Department, J&K Bank, Entreprunership Development Institute, etc.
Around 206 home-based women workers had been registered with the Department of Handcrafts as artisnas after a through examination of all the artisans by the Handicraft Assessment Officer following which they have been issued the Artizan Registration Cards. Around 51 home-based workers have been linked to KWCCL (a financial institution specially set up for Women) and a total of 310 individual artisan bank accounts and another 4 groups have been registered as cooperatives. 17 joint artisan bank accounts have been opened with The Jammu & Kashmir Bank Pvt. Ltd with another 5 under process. We have also been able to organise around 15 exposure visits which included nearly 150 women participants to SEWA Center (Ganderbal), Shehjar Resource Center (Inderhama) and NRLM administered groups in Budgam.
Various efforts are laid to sensitize various departments and agencies including the middlemen towards the plight of Home Based workers so that the artizans could earn a stable livelihood and live a prosperous life. In addition, various PIE meetings to address the issues faced by the PIEs and train them to mittigate the issues and build their capacities a s a group.
We have been trainig the groups on managing the SHGs to ensure equal participation, generate savings and stabilize the artizans and their families. For this purpose various skill building trainings have been organised where emphasis were laid on training the artizans about the modern designs, desighnig their own designs thereby ensuring they have a USP. The foundation has even imparted training in cutting and tailoring to around 50 girls out of which around 7 have started their own boutiques and 1 has been considered for working with us as a trainer.
Around 50 Pashmina Shawls have been procured and another 280 count shawls have been provided to Facilitation the beneficiaries for self employment and formation of cooperatives. All the groups will be registered as Cooperatives through the Department of Handicrafts where 2 groups have been registered as cooperatives and the process will be replicated for all other groups.
The old IEC material had to be changed owing to changes in Social Security Schemes available through various Government Departments & Institutions and as such IEC material has been redesigned and all the new schemes launched by various departments have been included in the newly developed IEC for ensuring the maximum benefit for the beneficiaries. Till date IEC has been distributed among 2500 beneficiaries (Direct & Indirect).