“I remember when PSSS started in 2003 out of Chinni ma’am’s house. It was such a tiny thing then, only two women”, recalls Guddi didi, a trainer at Stree Shakti. “Now, we have over 170 women working here at the moment”, she adds proudly.
The first step in making the women self-reliant is the training programme, which first started six years ago. Each woman is trained in patchwork and quilting for six months. During this period, she is given a stipend of Rs. 750 per month, and all the material is provided free of cost.
After the training programme, the women are sorted into self-help groups (SHGs). There are 12 SHGs, each with a group leader, an assistant and an accountant to take care of the group’s finances. Each group also has its own bank account. All this enables the women to become more financially independent by working in SHGs that function autonomously under the Stree Shakti umbrella.
Apart from the entrepreneurial training, Stree Shakti also provides many benefits to the women here. Their children below the age of four are cared for at Shishu Shakti, a crèche-cum-playschool, at a nominal fee (they also provide need-based scholarships after a thorough survey of the household). They are also provided a meal a day, and free health care.
By taking exceptionally good care of their women, Stree Shakti enables the women to stand on their own feet and become the writers of their destinies.