With the Indian government aspiring for a $5 trillion economy, as much as developmental activities are being carried out in the urban areas, it becomes equally important to empower the rural people as well, who comprise a significant population of the country. Though the government has enacted the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005, the labour demand-driven programme is limited to providing only 100 days of paid labour on public works projects per year.
Taking everything into consideration, AROH Foundation has tied up with Indian carpet manufacturer Jaipur Rugs with an aim to empower over 12,000 women living in selected villages of Budaun by providing sustainable livelihoods. The foundation, one of the leading national level NGOs, has also been collaborating with HDFC Bank in Budaun District over the years to initiate Holistic Rural Development Project. AROH has stepped up in its effort to train the marginalised women in hand-knitted carpet manufacturing and provide them with employment opportunities. By leveraging the untapped yet lucrative carpet sector of Budaun which dates back to Mughal period, AROH Foundation seeks to make those women self-dependent.
“The carpet industry in Budaun which dates back from Mughal period has gained prominence due to unique craftsmanship of products. But the irony was, there were around 130 women, desperately to become Aatmnirbhar, looking for options and no one was considering the goldmine hidden within the village, which was their expertise in making these carpets,” said Dr Neelam Gupta, President AROH Foundation.
Using the pre-existing resources and manpower, AROH Foundation, in association with Jaipur rugs, has been able to help the women in Budaun earn their own livelihood. Today, they have their self-help group and can sell their products directly, thus contributing to the nation’s economy. Savitri Devi, a 35-year-old weaver trained by AROH Foundation said, “Even during lockdown, I could sustain decently because of savings from my earnings.”
With the pandemic taking a heavy toll on everyone especially the poor, foundations like AROH have come as a boon, boosting the underprivileged communities to become self-reliant during tiring times like today.