Women, especially those who belong to weaker sections, are showing keen interest to become economically independent. Whether the husband supports the family or not, unemployed or alcoholic, nothing deters these women to shoulder the responsibility and help improve their standard of living.

Most of them are on their own. From forming a group who share similar interests to finding out short-term courses that suit their lives and securing loans from the bank to expanding their network, budding women entrepreneurs are now finding ways to create their own identity.

Sesha Sai and Sujatha, who got trained in a food processing workshop organised by a SHG, were eager to explain their preparation of pickles, jams, summer quenchers and so on. “Cooking is our area of interest. Through one of the women empowerment programmes, organised by a SHG near our locality, we were trained to prepare instant food products during a 37-day workshop. It helped us to convert our raw culinary skills to the levels required to be a professional,” they said. These entrepreneurs like to start a unit of their own inviting a wider circle of friends together.

Some of them said they also plan to check with hotels, supermarkets, exhibitions and catering services to get regular orders and help them earn consistently.

There are several women who showed similar interest in learning culinary skills and become economically independent post the training, instructor of Advanced Training Institute N.V.J. Nagalakshmi said. “The certificates issued by Durgabai Deshmukh Mahila Sisu Vikasa Kendram help them secure bank loans and to establish independent units of food processing,” she explained.

Regional coordinator of Dhan Foundation K. Rama Prabha said they have trained some 120 members of various SHG clusters on food processing workshop for the last one year and have plans to spread across more groups this financial year.

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