Working in disasters for two decades now.. we know that poverty is the biggest ongoing disaster for a big majority in India. And natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, cyclones only worsen their misery. When unprecedented floods hit Kerala last year it wreaked havoc in the lives of over 1 million people. Goonj stepped in for the first time in Kerala and took up massive relief and rehabilitation work, that’s still going on. Like most disasters women were the mostly badly affected here, especially the one’s from financially weaker communities. They bore the biggest brunt of sustaining the lives of their families.
Goonj started working on livelihood of affected women from remote villages of Kottayam, Kollam, Idduki and Wayand districts. Focusing on women from weaker economic background or housewives, single mothers or women into low scale fishing businesses badly affected by floods.We set up a stitching unit to help revive their livelihood. In most cases, due to lack of proper space, these women were stitching at home. They collectively hunted for rented spaces to continue their work unhampered.
Goonj Kerela team mobilized them to work together and nudged them to find a source of sustenance. Goonj set up stitching centers in different localities with over 43 stitching machines and raw material as cloth and other accessories needed like scissors, tailoring machines, threads, motors, tables, old clothes, Needles, glass beads etc.
With the help of a local partner organization basic training was also provided for few women to make them self reliant. Today, these women are charting out their own way, working collectively to re-build everything from scratch. Their small scale enterprise of making and selling their finished products (Nighties, Petticoats, Blouse, Jholas, underskirts and Churidars) has triggered many ripples of changes. These women are now more financially empowered.. many getting their first time earning opportunity. In many cases, women are venturing out and planning to upscale it by opening up their own shops as well!