South African team visits women SHG

All the way from Africa: The delegation at a sanitary napkin making unit in Mudichur   | Photo Credit: Photo: A. Muralitharan

A delegation from South Africa, representing its Department of Trade and Industry, visited Mudichur Village Panchayat near Tambaram recently, getting a first-hand-experience of women empowerment, an issue which the African nation has been giving a lot of importance.

The delegation visited a sanitary napkin and handicrafts products making units, apart from the shop selling them, all under the care and maintenance of women self-help groups.

“India and South Africa have very strong economic relations and we have a memorandum of understanding between the two nations,” said Elizabeth Thabethe, Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, leading the delegation. South Africa’s Small Enterprise Development Agency and India’s National Small Industries Corporation were working together on many issues.

“We have a target of achieving bilateral trade to the tune of 15 Billion US Dollars by 2015,” she added. Ms. Thabethe said that their Government was giving a lot of importance to improving the quality of women, especially in rural areas.

According to her, many women were left behind by their husbands, who went to cities in search of jobs.

Their Government was doing a lot it could to create women entrepreneurs.

India had done well in the area of empowering women through self-help groups and extending financial assistance through micro credit.

“It might not be possible to replicate the system followed in India back home. We have a very different system. But there is a lot to learn from India,” the Deputy Minister said.

P. Damodaran, President of Mudichur Village Panchayat, explained in detail to the delegation about the origin of the concept of women self-help groups, how they came together to improve each other’s lives and how financial assistance was extended to them.

The delegation also comprised officials from the Department. They reached New Delhi, where they interacted with representatives from the Ministry of Trade and Commerce, before reaching Chennai on August 22. The visited Kerala and Mumbai, before returning home. Pule Malefane, Consul General for South Africa in Mumbai, was also present.

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 12:34:40 AM |

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