Women entrepreneurs are transforming and challenging traditional conceptions of professional success today, despite the multitasking vortex, officials say.
“UMEED – a program sponsored by the center, breathes new life into rural women amid the pandemic,” said Dr Sehrish Asgar, general manager of the Jammu & Kashmir State Rural Livelihoods Mission (Umeed).
“Dozens of women entrepreneurs in J&K’s various district self-help group are scripting a success story in fighting COVID in rural areas,” she said.
“UMEED (JK Rural Livelihood Mission) has the potential to give wings to the aspirations of rural women who dream of becoming economically independent.
She says that during the pandemic, women entrepreneurs are making essential contributions to the battle against Covid-19. “They (women) are at the heart of ongoing care and intervention efforts. Members of the SHG are making an effort and distributing masks to those in need, ”she said.
Dr Sehrish says that up-to-date knowledge and skills are needed in today’s digital world to grow professionally and be successful as an entrepreneur.
“We are helping women in any way we can. “
“We are also working to remove the main barriers to successful entrepreneurship that prevent women from realizing their full potential or even prevent them from starting an entrepreneurial career,” she says.
Here again, developed and developing countries have understood that women’s entrepreneurial activities contribute to socio-economic growth and that the use of the full potential of all human resources is essential for sustainable development. 21st century studies, like those from the late 20th century, continue to shed light on gender gaps in entrepreneurship as well as much-valued career-family balance, while arguing that more research is needed. They also agree that successful entrepreneurship requires digital skills as well as a willingness to innovate.
State Project Director JKSRLM Dr Rais Ahmad Gojri said the Jammu and Kashmir State Rural Livelihood Mission (Umeed) has a mandate to reach 66% of the rural population in the 125 old blocks. Match them with sustainable livelihood opportunities and nurture them until they come out of poverty and enjoy a decent quality of life.
He said the program is being implemented in 96 blocks across 20 districts. So far, 405,226 poor women have been integrated into self-help groups; while 4,185 village organizations (OVs) and 442 cluster-level federations have been formed. 46,720 SHGs have been trained and uploaded to MIS. Members contributed Rs. 135.98 crore as their own internal savings. Bank accounts were opened for all SHGs, ie 100% of bank accounts opened.
He says that with their own economy, SHG members became creditworthy and accessed Rs 910.91 crore of JKRLM as capitalization and bank credit to invest in their own livelihoods.
According to business experts, entrepreneurial initiatives, skills, characteristics, attributes, motivations and leadership styles of women, documenting strategies for success and obstacles encountered, indicate that little has changed.
Women entrepreneurs continue to face the multitasking vortex, as well as a lack of financial resources, marketing skills and support services, including limited access to business networks, technology and digital markets. They say that despite the massive entry of women into all-male fields, the glass ceilings have not been shattered. However, a UMEED official said dozens of women scripted their successes in Jammu and Kashmir.
Atiqa Wani, from Ramhal, border area of Kupwara District, comes from a modest family. Like other students, she also struggled for better career opportunities after completing her graduate studies.
“Despite applying for many vacancies, nothing positive has come out,” Atiqa says. She eventually thought about fending for herself and decided to set up an educational institution as she felt she had resource people readily available in the form of her unemployed educated siblings. With the desire and desire to become a successful educator, she eventually partnered with the SHG ecosystem to increase her otherwise limited financial resources.
While associated with SHG, she received a revolving fund of Rs. 10,000 initially and later a community investment fund of 20,000, then three times a total loan of Rs. 1.40 missing from the respective VO. Seeing its repayment performance etc. and her commitment to her mission, she was recommended for a banking connection, which helped her successfully manage the affairs of the institute.
Started the institute with only five (5) students, she managed to get 200 admissions in 2019 thanks to the financial support of UMEED. We are not only making a decent living but we are proud to become job givers rather than job seekers and are able to provide paid employment to fifteen (15) people in our institution so far, says she with confidence.
“I want to open additional branches of my school in the more remote areas of my district where the dropout rate is still high,” says Atiqa.
Janna Begum, a member of the SHG since 2015, was struggling for a living. From raising cattle to starting a business, she had to go through difficult times, but her persistence and commitment to her family kept her going. Begum, originally from Singhpora, in the district of North Kashmir, has created various means of subsistence but has engaged his whole family in them.
“UMEED provided me with a platform to overcome my financial difficulties. I started Cosmetics and a forage store and both units were very successful. I am now earning over Rs. 25,000 profit per month.
Satisfied with her efforts and her development, she is motivated to develop her business and start another temporary store.
“Our family situation improved considerably and I was able to offer paid employment to other women as well. We are very satisfied with our businesses, ”she said.
Naseema Bano, from Newa region, Pulwama district, South Kashmir, has been a member of SHG since March 2016. Her husband is a laborer and the only member of the family earning a living. She wanted to extend a helping hand to her husband, but each time the lack of financial resources presented itself to him. “I not only created a livelihood opportunity for myself, but I engaged my whole family with it. UMEED has provided us with a suitable platform to overcome our financial difficulties which we have been facing for quite a long time.
She says that with the financial help and the banking ties, she was able to establish a full-fledged workshop and copper retail store in her surroundings. “The shop is a successful business and I earn over 30,000 rupees per month. I intend to expand the activity further so that I can generate jobs for other needy women in the locality in addition to earning more profit. “
Bhakhtawar Begum of the Central District of Kashmir Budgam raised his children with the income generated by the cow unit. “I keep an average of almost three cows. I never took advantage of a government run program and they never approached us. “
“I am happy that with the income generated by the cow unit, I was able to marry my daughter. My son graduated from college and is now well established in his field, ”says Bhakhtawar.
The story of Sheetal Kumari, from the Sultanpur village of Bishnah, is also inspiring. Coming from an economically poor and backward family of five, she struggled daily for a living. “It was very difficult for us to make ends meet. I used to make paper bags overnight and sell them to the vendor next door. I joined the UMEED program and did my best to revive our economic situation.
Kumari, during a short period of his association with NRLM’s UMEED, generated many assets for his family. She is a role model for women in her village as well as in her own community. She currently has a Karyana store, a load carrier, 2 to 3 cows and works as an AMC operator in her village.
Like Kumari, Anju Bala of Mathwar, Bhalwal region in Jammu region, lived in abject poverty. Within the SHG ecosystem, she received a number of trainings which opened up her horizons. Currently, Anju runs a successful general store and earns substantial income for her family.
Since the inception of the Umeed program in Marh Jammu, members of the Gango Chak village self-help group in Marh Jammu have always wanted a permanent source of income. They strove to open small innovative business units.
Their dreams came true when Umeed, in collaboration with the ICICI foundation, started a training program in the village, since then they have not looked back. Out of a group of thirty women participating in the training, Sushma and five other women from different SHGs decided to start a milk-based business for a living.
UMEED, in collaboration with the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), facilitated meeting formalities and installed basic infrastructure such as refrigerators and weighing machines. for the establishment of the company named Shradha. Shradha is first and foremost a cottage cheese production unit. Since the region has an abundant milk production.
The amount of milk required for the business is purchased from nearby local vendors and support group members. “The returns on investment are promising. Currently, I successfully make cottage cheese for sale to the owners of various food stalls, restaurants for family receptions, outside the villagers as buyers.