A new initiative by Soothika, a women-oriented micro enterprise, in association with the National Rural Livelihood Mission model ‘Kudumbhasree’ seeks to revive the traditional massage therapies to relieve mothers and newborns of the stresses of pregnancy and delivery. The initiative offers the traditional techniques in delivery care and massage of baby, which were offered by ‘Soothikarminies’ (trained women who attend pregnant ladies) in yester years.
Rekha Babu, CEO of Soothika, said it provides care to mothers immediately after delivery through massage therapies, music therapy and use of ayurveda oils. ‘Our micro enterprise platform- Soothikashree – imparts skill training in pregnancy homecare and equips women in lower economic strata to be sustainable entrepreneurs,” said Rekha, who is also CEO of BCG Group.
The initiative seeks to empower unskilled women by providing a venue for self-sustainable enterprise through multi-skill training. Soothikashree trains them to use ayurvedic therapeutic oils, massage techniques and ways to market their services. After training, they are given micro loans and a two-wheeler along with a smart phone tailored to manage the service.
The payment from the clients are collected by Soothikashree, which routes it into the therapists bank accounts, boosting financial inclusion and ensuring timely payments. A typical post natal therapy session lasts just two hours a day for 28 days, with allowance varying from 21 to 42 days.
The session costs Rs 15,000 per client, she said, adding a therapist could earn nearly Rs 30,000 on a monthly basis.
“We have huge demand for our services across India and we are in process of tying up with self-help groups, and microfinance companies,” she said.
Empanelled by Kudumbashree in February 2014, Soothikasree had provided services to more that 10,000 women across Kerala between February and April 2014.