Sarthak: Local Livelihood Options for Community Women

Sarthak is a spontaneous community based programme for  skill development  and capacity building of  migrant women in Noida (U.P.). Sarthak is based on the premise that skilled and economically empowered women have better options in life that are reflected in their family life and healthy growth of their children.

Sarthak has been conceptualized to facilitate the women become self-reliant through employment opportunities or self-employment generated through their initiative and SADRAG support.  Sarthak has been closely associated with Ugta Suraj programme whereby community children and their mothers are groomed to assimilate in the mainstream through literacy, basic education , skill development and capacity building.

Sarthak began in village Harola in Noida in the year 2007 when a group of 10-12 women gathered in Ugta Suraj center everyday between 3-4 p.m.. They  occupied one corner  while their children played with paper caps made by them in another corner of the center. The center echoed with mixed  voices on how to increase family income, what work to do and what to learn. A series of such gatherings and group talks resulted in a 3 months stitching course that was started with a group of around 10 women. A community woman started teaching the basic stitching techniques.

Sarthak got a boost when a Gurgaon based multinational company gave an order of stitching 1000 cloth bags for their women executives. The Sarthak women worked day and night to complete the order and earned a decent amount of money.

What  started in 2007 grew to other communities where women learnt stitching and tailoring, beauty culture, paper envelope making and handicrafts.  The women wing of Lioness Club Noida, ROSHNI has been the major Resource Group for Sarthak. ROSHNI has financially supported Sarthak over the years and have benefited over 400 women from local communities   till date.

A Sarthak follow-up indicates that around 50 women have been working in industrial units on a monthly salary between 3000-6000 INR. A few women have set up tailoring units at home and have created a source of livelihood for their families. Many women are involved in putting up stalls in shopping malls and corporate offices to showcase and sell the products made by them.