T. Nagar Downtown

Lessons in social empowerment

The core members of the Enactus team of the college. Photo: R. ragu   | Photo Credit: R. ragu

Chitra is no longer just a housewife; she is on the way to becoming a business woman. Her line of work: creating eco-friendly jute bags.

Revathi, head of a self-help group in Madipakkam, is happy to see a few of her members take up chocolate-making to supplement their family’s income.

A few college students get the satisfaction of working with poor women to make them self-reliant.

Acting as a common thread between the three is an organisation called Enactus which conducts national- and international-level competitions for college students on projects that have social, economic and environmental impacts.

The students of Shasun Jain College for Women are heading for the national contest with two projects this year.

“The Enactus team was formed five years ago and students in their first and second year are enrolled in it. The team targeted the women community above the age of 25, who are economically less stable and need a workable business model to supplement family income. The project they chose were chocolate-making and jute bag-making,” says Uma Maheshwari, the faculty in-charge of the team.

The students did an extensive research on neighbourhoods and its women and selected the most deserving ones in Madipakkam and Mudichur. The work on the project started six months ago and students had to present a project overview along with cost estimates to the college.

“The training period was for 15 days and apart from our students we had also roped in experts to teach the women,” she adds. With over 250 students as members of the team, they were divided and given charge of designing, production, packaging, marketing, and training.

“At both the places, we trained women in the two arts and encouraged them to continue what they preferred or were good at. For chocolate-making, we roped in Mallika Badrinath, a culinary expert, to give these women some success tips, A professional was similarly on board for jute bag-training, which involves precision cuts and tailoring skills,” says a student involved in the project.

The students will also follow up with the women and help them market their products.

“We have provided them the numbers of prospective buyers and shops in their neighbourhood whom they can approach for selling their products,” says Uma.

At the national contest in July, the students will be expected to make a presentation on the impact their projects have made to the lives of the women.

A few other colleges from Chennai are expected to participate as well.

For purchasing the products made by the women, call 99622 02274 / 98416 50905.

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 3:51:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/lessons-in-social-empowerment/article6114505.ece

Next Story