story goes back to a literacy drive organised in 1997.
There were about 52,000 illiterate people in the city, out
of which 80 per cent were women.
4,000 volunteers educated people across the city, and the
drive was a resounding success. The volunteers taught slum
dwellers how to read and write, even under the lamplight.
The success of the literacy drive emphasized
the need for, and the benefits of, a comprehensive empowerment
programme. The brainchild of former Mayor Vandana Chavan,
the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) liked it and decided
to adopt it.
SMILE had embarked on a massive literacy drive covering over
35000 women. Functional literacy was more important than just
tap the creative abilities in rural women. In this drive over
2000 neighborhood Self Help Groups, with 50 women in
each group, were formed with the initiative of Pune Municipal
Corporation. Rural women have lot of talents in them and there
was a need to provide an opportunity to bring out their talents
and provide them with some opportunity".
for Ladies Empowerment],
an umbrella for women to come together and sell homemade wares,
is a marketing system developed
by Sfurti Mahila Mandal and the Urban Community Development
Department of the Pune Municipal Corporation to help underpriviledged
women and the physically or mentally challenged.
Initially the system was
restricted to women below the poverty line (BPL), but the
quality was not always up to mark. To ensure the quality,
the products were sent back with suggestions for improvement
or rejected almost 60 per cent of the times. And so the unique
concept of "twinning" came about.
So a project called 'twinning' was started, in which one economically
underprivileged woman was paired with someone who was comfortably
off. While one had the time and dedication, the other lent
support in terms of taste, colour schemes and good finish.
This avoided the consumer to from compromising on quality.
It's a philosophy that has worked well and the outlets at
Vishrambaug Wada, Lokmanya Nagar and the newly opened one
near Katraj Snake Park, rake in substantial returns every
Managed by the women themselves,
SMILE has been able to do so well because of the network built
by them during the literacy drive.
shops stock various products like crocheted and handmade paper
articles, different kinds of wall-hangings, baby sets and
food products like papad and pickles.
The success of the stores has not only made the women self-sufficient,
but has also shown them that the sky is the limit.
to the efforts of Urban Community Development (UCD) department
of the Pune Municipal Corporation and Sfurti Manila Mandal,
the Savitri Marketing Institution for Ladies empowerment (SMILE)
there is a 'SMILE' on the faces of thousands of women.
movement which begun two years ago has benefited thousands
of the women in Pune region, not only by providing them with
employment opportunities but empowering them in many other
areas. Today there are many success stories of unemployed
women turning into successful entrepreneurs.
empower women, the neighborhood self-help groups were given
authority and responsibility to function on their own. The
formation of neighborhood self-help groups has helped them
to channelize several other welfare programmes of State and
Central Government for the welfare of women.
women would jointly meet and take initiative, be it about
manufacturing or Reproductive Child Health education, or health
awareness or any other subject. However manufacturing any
product does not help and there was a need to provide a market
for the goods manufactured or the service potential of these
women and that is how SMILE was born.
help the 'not so fortunate', SMILE
is trying to teach them some craft or occupation by which
they can get some measure of economic freedom and inturn improve
the quality of their lives.
the overwhelming response, Pune Municipal Corporation and
Sfurti Manila Mandal are planning to set up three more centres
ALL THIS TO BRING A SMILE
ON THEIR FACE!