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Women self-help groups with business acumen bag awards

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Women with resolve: Work in progress at a tailoring unit in Tuticorin district.
Women with resolve: Work in progress at a tailoring unit in Tuticorin district.

R. Vimal Kumar

Alwarthirunagari women weave success stories

Tuticorin: Members of Arivoli Deepam and Arivoli Malligai women self-help groups (SHG), based in Alwarthirunagari block, are an elated lot these days, having been awarded ‘Best SHGs-2008’ in the district under Continuing Education Programme.

Started in a modest way about three-and-a-half years back, the stitching unit operated by 12 women of Arivoli Deepam at Alwarthirunagari wears a busy look with orders coming from many parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

With a meagre capital, the members started the unit by stitching inner garments such as skirts to cater to the needs of local women. As the business flourished, the group obtained subsidy-linked credit from Indian Bank and bought nine electric sewing machines and an embroidery machine to enhance their business.

“The move helped us fetch orders for stitching uniforms for students of government schools and rexin bags from various private establishments,” its president A. Thirupathi said.

The group plans to produce churidars, night wear and inner garments for women under their own brand name. “We are planning to procure institutional credit of Rs. 5 lakh to build the brand,” said Ms. Thirupathi.

For the 12 members of Arivoli Malligai group, it is success all the way ever since they started wholesale banana business a few years ago. From being mere agricultural labourers toiling hard at banana plantations, the women have become successful entrepreneurs selling large quantities of banana in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.

“We collect the produce from different parts of the district and sell it to the dealers,” said S. Mariammal, group leader. The group plans to diversify the business by setting up a plant to produce value-added health products from banana.

J. Gunasekaran, district co-ordinator of Continuing Education Programme, said that prompt repayment of credit and proper maintenance of books over a period of years fetched the groups the award.

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