CHENNAI: Among all the stalls setup at the Hindu Spiritual Fair at AM Jain College, there was one stall with a difference. This one was completely run by women. Most of them are school dropouts from a remote village in Kancheepuram, who are working under the Centrally sponsored Nehru Yuva Kendra (NYK) scheme.
In an attempt to develop skills and personality of rural youth, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports had set up 623 NYKs across the country. A network of youth clubs were established through these centres in target areas.
One such club established through NYK-Kancheepuram had changed the lives of several school dropouts and illiterate women in Koovathur village known for the small textile outlets and temples.
Experts from Madurai had trained these women in making jute bags, single-use cloth bags used at restaurants, marriages and candles and handicrafts for free. Now these women with the help of local panchayat officials had taken a loan to start up their own manufacturing unit where they prepare these items.
V Jamuna, one of them, said that even though half the amount we earn as profit was spent on repaying the loan and buying raw materials, we earn close to `4,000-5,000 a month. “Despite being a meagre amount, this plays a crucial role in educating my daughters,” said 35-year-old G Kirubavathi who dropped out of school due to financial constraints in her family.
These women after much difficulty have managed to set up a stall in the fair which attracts thousands of visitors on a daily basis.