: The State Kudumbasree Mission gives priority to setting up micro-enterprises to empower Below the Poverty Line women living in urban areas. But most ventures are confined to food and paper bag-making units, senior officials with the Mission have noted.
To diversify the scope of its activities, they invited non-governmental groups and agencies to come up with proposals that Kudumbasree women could take up and follow through on their own. One of the projects that were approved last month is based on providing pregnancy and postnatal care. Kudumbasree workers enlisted under this scheme will be given the status of ‘therapists’ after training.
The Kudumbasree Mission tied up with a Kochi-based organization called Soothika to provide skill training in post-pregnancy therapy training for women and infants. The 32-day training will, most likely, begin on June 28 in Thiruvananthapuram. Soothika has been functional for nearly two years now, with clients mostly in Kochi and Bangalore.
In addition to providing women with therapy training, traditional Ayurvedic practices will be revived to improve maternal health. Stress-reliever
According to Soothika CEO and founder Rekha Babu, Ayurveda oil and massages work wonders in relieving both physical and mental stress in the mother.
This, in turn, would aid breastfeeding and the cognitive development of the baby during the crucial first couple of months.
“More often than not, Kudumbasree workers are immediately associated with waste collection and we are trying to change that limited outlook as well,” District Coordinator Geetha Phillip said. The trained women will be known as ‘Soothikashree entrepreneurs’.
Kudumbasree will implement this project under their Swarna Jayanthi Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY) Centrally-sponsored scheme for poverty alleviation.
Over the past two weeks, around 12 women in the district were told to find prospective clients on their own to help make them accountable.
“All of them did; in fact, one of them came up to me and said that she wanted to get the training underway as soon as possible so that she could get back to a woman she met who was eight months pregnant and was interested in getting therapy,” said Ms. Babu.
In phase-I, around 10 women will be trained in every district. Once under way, Kudumbashree workers stand to earn Rs.10,000 per month per client and they can take up to three cases at a time.