We have had the following update about our ACWW project.
A two-day Entrepreneurship Development Programme and a one-day leadership training programme have been conducted, with 50 beneficiary women participating. All expressed their willingness to use their new skills in their daily working lives, and they learned to use positive thinking to see their occupation in a new light.
Training in fish-processing was provided to 100 women in four batches. They were given equipment and ice boxes, according to their needs. There was some delay with the training due to rain, because it was mostly conducted in the open air.
80 women have received interest-free loans in order to develop their businesses, after their individual needs were discussed with the project coordinators. Additional women are due to receive their loans shortly. The first beneficiaries of the loans have been making monthly repayments regularly.
Finally, a seven-day leadership training programme was conducted for 10 women, selected from the Women Head Load Fish Vendors’ Federation. The topics covered included: account keeping, micro-credit procedures and management. The aim of this was to ensure that the participants will be able to manage the micro-credit component of the project on an ongoing basis. These women appeared to be well able to take on this role, at the end of the programme.
This project is empowering women in several ways:- the women have the means to produce something to sell throughout the year; they have become better able to analyse their businesses; they are no longer in the clutches of unscrupulous moneylenders and the 10 leadership trainees are equipped for management roles in the Federation.
Case Study: Mrs Jayammal
Mrs Jayammal, aged 45, was born and brought up in Midalam coastal village. She is handicapped and a widow, with two daughters. She has been selling fish door to door for the past 15 years. She had to borrow Rs. 10,000 from local moneylenders at a high interest rate in order to start her business, and has been struggling to care for her family.
Due to her financial circumstances and her enthusiasm for the project, she was chosen as one of the beneficiaries. She attended the Leadership, Entrepreneur-ship Development and Fish Processing Training. She said “Only after this project I can see that there are people to help me and I can take care of myself and my daughter’s education by doing my business in a proper way…. “
Due to the interest-free loan she has received, she is able to save Rs.1,000 per month which she was earlier paying as interest. She is working hard at dry fish processing and marketing. This earns her an additional income of Rs. 4,500 per month. The income is sufficient for her needs at present and she says “many thanks to ACWW”.