This story is of a brave individual who chose to display sheer resilience in the face of discrimination, social stigma, and countless obstacles that life threw her way. Born as a dwarf due to a genetic condition, Ms. Anitha is a 23-year-old who earns her bread by working for four hours every day at a local canteen. With her father passing away, Anitha shouldered the responsibility of her mother. Although Anitha completed her high school education, she could not find promising employment opportunities, limiting her capability to earn and support herself. It goes without saying that specially abled girl children and woman are at the receiving end of more discrimination and exclusion from society when compared to men. In an effort to battle the issue head on, CARE India has launched several initiatives that provide rural livelihood to specially abled woman from marginalised communities. One such initiative is our EDP training.
Anitha joined the EDP training, after which she spent the initial few sessions brainstorming various business opportunities that she could possibly pursue. Ultimately, she decided to go ahead with the imitation and artificial jewellery business, since she could make the ornaments at home all by herself. Through the woman’s entrepreneurship development and training programmes, CARE India offers end-to-end support to early-stage entrepreneurs. Starting from ideation and early stage support to scale-up support, the programme is offering holistic help to foster woman entrepreneurship in the country. As part of the early-stage support, Anitha received 70,000 INR worth of materials to get started. Through her exemplary work ethic and love for craft, Anitha evolved as a household name in her village for renting or buying artificial jewellery. She even rents out her ornaments for festivities and functions such as marriages, earning up to 1500 INR per day. Anitha also started making daily-use artificial jewellery with a 40 percent margin.
On top of updating her product line and introducing new ornaments occasionally, Anitha finds smart ways to promote her products and jewellery rental services. One such idea includes circulating images of her products on WhatsApp among the people in their village. She is also reaching out to people from nearby villages, distributing catalogues of her work in an attempt to increase her sales. Two months after starting the business, Anitha is earning an additional 4000 INR each month apart from what she makes at the nearby canteen. Anitha is now hopeful that she can take good care of her mother while expanding her business along the way.
“I never thought I would get help to start a business. But now, I have got the confidence to face life and take care of my mother,” says Anitha. She also hopes to set up a shop right in front of her house to showcase her ornaments and improve her business prospects.
About the Programme
CARE India’s EDP programme is a training programme that is designed to help people from marginalized communities start and grow their own businesses. The programme covers a wide range of topics, including business planning, marketing, financial management, and leadership. The EDP programme is open to all people from marginalized communities, regardless of their gender, age, or educational background. The programme is free to participate in, and all participants are provided with the necessary training and support to help them start and grow their own businesses. A recent study found that 90% of the businesses that were started through the programme are still in operation after five years.