One of the major hurdles we had to overcome in the IHF School project was that the children started dropping out of school after a few months. So a research team was sent out to figure out why this was happening and the results led us to our next project, ‘Protibha’, the women empowerment project of IHF.
We found out that families in those regions were solely dependent on the fathers who were the only earning members of the family. As the children grew older, they were sent out looking for work and as the women were not allowed to work outside the house, it was up to the children to act as the extra earning member of the family.
However since the women in rural areas of our country are well known for their natural skill and talent in sewing and stitching, we decided that we would provide these women with the opportunity to earn a living by setting up a crafting center for them where they would make Nakshi kanthas, sarees and other handicraft products which we would sell in the market and the profit would go to the mothers. Thus, they can actually earn through this sector which will give them income solvency, right to make important decisions of the family, and most importantly they can contribute to the family income and the community. In return, they would send their kids to school.
After a lot of convincing, these mothers finally agreed to get involved and hence the journey of Protibha started with only 5 women back in 2014.
Activities and trainings:
Currently, under the project ‘Protibha’, IHF has ensured a stable earning source for over 250 women with hopes of being able to increase this number to thousands. A part of the profit that comes from ‘Protibha’ is also used to run the IHF School which also makes the project sustainable.
These amazing women are creating products like sarees, dresses, nakshi kanthas, bags, women accessories, curtains, bed sheets, pillow cases, kitchen accessories and a wide range of many more products. Moreover, they also produce new creative products by recycling materials like papers, clothes and plastic bags.
Training sessions are conducted every three months in a year to ensure that they learn and grow better with time so that they can create quality products that will hopefully catch the attention of people from various backgrounds so that the project can go global.
Moreover, we provide them with basic education and conduct health and hygiene campaigns for them every year. We want the women to be able to have a say in the decision making of the family and not be looked down upon. Through the project Protibha, we help these women rise on their own and get a stronger position in their families and the community.