The COVID-19 pandemic followed by the lockdown tailors Mumtaz and Sumathi were rendered jobless and stuck at home with their sewing machines.
Together, both the women ran a tailoring business, but amid the pandemic, no one wished to stitch new clothes. With the ongoing lockdown situation, their tailoring business came to a halt.
Their unit at home and a shop that they both ran together were closed down for months. That's when they got to know about the block panchayat building of Vengara, Malappuram, that would be let out to women who are willing to run a small business.
The two Malappuram native women decided to take up the offer and restart their shop. Also, they decided that they would make the stitching centre into a training institute as well.
In just two months, their shop was genrating income for them. Theirs is among the 19,136 job opportunities created through the Kerala government's Kudumbashree initiative in the non-farming sector.
The main objective of this initiative is to eradicate poverty. Kudumbashree is a Neighbourhood Group (NHG) that has been around for more than 22 years. With its huge network, it facilitates woman with job opportunities and empowers them.
The scheme's Executive Director Harikishore S said that as part of creating livelihood opportunities, Kudumbashree had envisaged a programme called 'Athijeevanam Keraleeyam'. By providing skill training, thousands of women are now self-employed or have waged jobs.
The state government had earlier announced in its 100-day programme that 50,000 people would be given livelihood opportunities in the non-farming sector. Kudumbashree was expected to facilitate 15,000 of these.
Till now, it has successfully created opportunities for 19,136 people. Even amid the problems faced during the pandemic, the empowering woman with such opportunities is a remarkable achievement.