Project: Swayamsiddha

A Forum For Single Women

Skill Development Training:

Life in hills revolves around women. They are at the center of cultural, social and economic life of families. People mostly dependent on cattle and agriculture for survival.

Many women lost their husbands due to plethora of reasons. Their concerns and aspirations remain inarticulate as most of the these women are less educated and unaware about their rights and available opportunities.

A forum was created to help these single women in Himalayan region. It initiated processes for changes in the government policies as per the needs, aspirations and requirements of local communities through:

  • Advocacy
  • Research
  • Public Hearing Campaigns

Under this program, joint study on the status of women was launched with ‘Action Aid’. Public hearings were also conducted at various places to spread awareness about the concerns of single women and need to incorporate their suggestion in the policy making.

Due to our efforts Congress led government in Uttarakhand initiated pensions of widows and divorced women.

This project was launched to help women in gaining employment in carpet manufacturing. After this project was initiated Upper Caste women in area refused to take up a job in carpet manufacturing. Traditionally carpet manufacturing was considered as job of low caste communities. Only women from scheduled caste and schedule tribe community came forward to work in the carpet manufacturing. Their population is also limited in the area where volunteers of Friends of Himalaya launched the project. Due to social and cultural reasons women from the local communities refused to participate in project which could potentially provide them livelihood beyond their limited agriculture and cattle rearing. Only the women from marginalized sections benefitted through this project.

Sweater Knitting Project

As per the local needs and cultural codes, carpet weavering project was replaced with Sweater knitting project. In this project women from all castes participated. Production cost of each Sweater was around 400 rupees. Unfortunately the similar factory made Sweater was available in 200 rupees. These handmade Sweater had more defects than the factory produced projects. Due to financial unviability of the project. It was closed.