Sudha, a mother of two children and homemaker in the village of Kaluvankadu, India, has always dreamed of having her own business. Due to a lack of economic opportunities in the village, Sudha’s husband moved to Dubai and began sending money back to the family each month. But these funds were barely enough to cover the children’s school tuition and her parents-in-law’s medical expenses. Sudha was thus left with practically no savings.
As a result, for emergencies Sudha had to take out loans, mainly from local loan sharks who charge exceedingly high interest rates.
But today Sudha has joined Parai Meengal, a collective of 40 women from her village, established with the help of Legal Aid to Women Trust (LAW Trust) and ActionAid’s regional office in Tamil Nadu. Parai Meengal’s members are educated on women’s rights issues and receive professional training in the production of masala powder and dried fish products.
Thanks to this training, Sudha, along with Seethalaksmi, Muthulaksmi, Amirthavalli and other women in the collective, has started a small business for the production of masala powder. Today, these new entrepreneurs are capable of successfully managing their commercial activities. “Starting up these businesses has made us more confident and financially independent. Now we can’t wait to expand our business to a broader market,” they confess enthusiastically.
This is one of the many initiatives of ActionAid India which, in partnership with the European Commission, aims to foster the economic empowerment of women and men from the poorer social strata in over.