My contribution, nay journey, at the
Presidential Award Winning NGO: VSSM
Building an Incubator for Empowerment of Poor Migrant Women through
Nestled right opposite to the Ramdevnagar Police Station and the majestic 5-star Courtyard by Mariott, the Ramdevnagar Society represents a completely different world: full of pain and hardships, however, also of determination and reformation.
The women would sell alcohol in the day. Then have their money taken by and get beat up by drunk husbands in the night. Who proceed to spend that money to spend on alcohol. Children grew up thinking alcohol and drugs bring food to their mouth. The addiction so bad that men would drink acid mistaking it for alcohol.
This was the filthy environment that these women struggled in. Supporting and being humiliated by their families.
This was until one of them decided it was enough.
Her name is Nenu ben. With the help of Vicharta Samuday Samarthan Manch (VSSM), she was able to get support in her aim to get rid of alcohol and drugs. Mittal Patel and her team worked hard, getting a police station installed, conducting rallies, persuading politicians to change this horrible world.
The campaign was successful but had yet another setback. Now the residents were truly jobless. Under the guidance of VSSM, the ladies formed the Jay Bhavani Group to learn managing money and were empowered to force the men to undergo treatment. They would sell murtis (religious statutes) throughout the year. A highly unstable and menial income to support their family.
That is what I sought to change. To give these women the life they have worked and suffered for but not received. I developed and pitched the idea for an incubator run by the Jay Bhavani Group and overseen by VSSM. Instead of being dependent on unstable incomes, the women could earn through starting their own microenterprise.
I designed a 5 week program wherein the women would be taught how to make melt-and-pour soaps that cost ₹30 (approx. $0.41) a piece to make and sell at ₹175 and above (approx. $2.32). A profit margin of 83%. In those 5 weeks I would teach them how to make the soaps out of glycerin, goat milk, and charcoal then proceed to tie up with the National Institute of Design and the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad to have professionals conduct workshops teaching the women packaging and selling to MNC's like Unilever and at state fairs.
Unfortunately disaster struck once more. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic I was able to conduct only one session. All further sessions fell apart once the news broke out that some residents may be infected.
It really does hurt when a person is left powerless in a journey he knew could have led to a better future for others.