Purkal Stree Shakti, Dehradun
The Purkal Stree Shakti Samiti (PSSS) translates as ‘empowering the women of Purkal’.
The Society works in a rural village outside Dehradun known as Purkal, located in the foothills of the Himalayas. Many families in the area lack basic education and skills and suffer from various cultural and social problems, which keep them locked in a continuous cycle of poverty.
The goal of PSSS is to develop in the women, who are part of the program, entrepreneurial skills so that they can manage a business and maximize their income.
More than 125 women currently work under the umbrella of the Stree Shakti brand – their workspace is comfortable, airy and hygienic; there is a crèche providing not merely custodial care but also preschool education to over 50 children belonging to these women. These children are growing and the women are happy that they are getting quality education that will provide a foundation for good schooling.
Women are trained for 6 months and during this time they receive an honorarium and some support by way of nutrition and medical care. The women who complete their training either constitute a new Self Help Group (SHG) or choose to join one of the SHGs already in operation. Vacancies arise in the established SHGs when trained members leave for reasons such as marriage, having a child etc.
Organically in this process about 10 self-help groups have been created so for. These SHGs accept responsibility for specific items of production and make money through these products being created and sold. The one trainer employed by the Society is able to train a maximum of 20 women at a time. On an average about 15 women of each batch complete their training. This is how the work force is gradually growing. All the assets, which are used by the SHGs, are owned by the society and these are used by the women free of cost. Working capital of about Rs. 30 lac has also been funded for the benefit of the women. The building comprising of about 5000 sq./ft., which is used by the SHGs, is also owned by the sister society – Purkal Youth Development Society – and is available to the SHGs free of rent as a measure to promote the women’s empowerment program.