Empowering Women in Kashmir, Promoting Their Livelihoods – ActionAid India
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Empowering Women in Kashmir, Promoting Their Livelihoods

Published on: Friday, 1st July 2022

Author: Priyanka Khullar (With inputs from Rukaya Farooq)

Asmet Sheikh, 23, lives with her mother and sister in a rented one-room apartment in Auquf Building in Srinagar, Kashmir. She lost her father to cancer in 2019. His untimely passing away brought the family not just the grief of losing a loved one but also a financial crisis. While Asmet was skilled at designing and tailoring, that could not convert into a source of income because the sewing machine she had was old and quite worn.

In April 2021, with support from a CSR partner, ActionAid Association started a livelihood generation programme in Srinagar. To enable socio-economically disadvantaged women to earn a livelihood, we identified 44 most vulnerable women with the community’s help. Subsequently, we provided these women with equipment, monetary and technical assistance.

We gave equipment worth Rs. 12,250 each to 18 women for tailoring, and tools and material worth Rs. 12,500 each to 13 women for embroidery. Besides, we transferred Rs. 7,500 each to 13 women, so they could run small shops or vending outlets. In addition to material support, we provided them with related training and other inputs, and regularly monitored their progress. We are happy to share that this programme has created sustainable income generation opportunities and is already having a transformative impact on these women’s lives and their families.

Asmet Sheikh is among the 44 women we supported. We gave her a sewing machine and an interlock machine. “The sewing machine I earlier used didn’t work most of the time. I also didn’t have an interlock machine and hence had to go to nearby tailoring shops for interlocking clothes, paying Rs. 20-30 each time,” narrates Asmet. She designs and makes various kinds of dresses for women and children using her new machines. In addition, the designer caps she makes, including the beautiful sozni caps and tilla patch caps, are bringing her many new customers and additional income. “I am grateful to ActionAid Association for enabling me to use my skills to generate income for my family. The interlock machine has been of immense help. In addition to stitching jobs, I am now getting a lot of interlocking work. The support I received has helped me become more empowered and independent,” says Asmet with a smile on her face.

With her family becoming financially secure enough to meet the day-to-day expenses, Asmet now wants to open a boutique of her own from where she can run her business and train other women in designing and tailoring!