Kudumbashree network crosses borders

Volunteers help rural livelihood missions in 11 states.

Thiruvananthapuram: Seemingly ordinary women from Kudumbashree network are now making a difference to the lives of women in other states as part of a Kudumbashree project supporting the State Rural Livelihood Mission in 11 states.

Referred to as mentors, they had to learn the local language and assimilate into another culture. Or languages and cultures, as was the case of S. Suma, who was assigned Malkangiri district in Odisha.

Having studied till class 10, she knew a bit of Hindi. However, in the Odisha village she would be in, no one spoke Hindi and there were around 10 languages to be learnt. “There were 10 tribes with 10 different languages. For two weeks, I went almost hungry, as I did not know how to ask for food.

Moreover, they were serving food without using spoons or ladles. It took a while to adjust,” she says. The Naxalite problem in the village was relatively simpler to handle. On their second meeting in the village, Naxalite leaders were in attendance, according to Suma. “Our strategy was to share all that we knew about NREGS and grama sabhas. Realising that we were there for their good, no one troubled us anymore,” she says.

The project has brought visible changes, according to the Kudumbashree mentors. Women, who would not be photographed without a ghoonghat in Chhattisgarh, have turned into entrepreneurs, according to Shamla Shukoor from Erumeli. “Now there are 102 micro-enterprise consultants and 1,027 micro-enterprises,” she says.

In Vardha district in Maharashtra, women panchayat presidents, who would not sit on a chair in front of men, have started speaking up, according to Suma Dharan. In Odisha, women learnt to put signatures so that they won’t be exploited by anybody, says S. Suma.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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