More than just finding a job...
2/3 of the Indian population is rural. Over the years, with changes inthe weather patterns that have led to unreliable farming cycles and lackof other employment opportunities, there has been a large migrationtowards cities.
However, most of rural migrants coming to the cities endup in slums. The high cost of living in urban areas and the lack ofskills to search for well paying jobs poses challenges for thesemigrants. It especially affects women migrants who are often illiterateand lack confidence in searching for jobs to make a living.
Matr Boomiehas always focused on finding opportunities for women at risk. In orderto create employment opportunities for these women migrants, we decidedto train them in making products with readily available raw materialslike saris and newspapers.
We reached out to women living in slums andinvited them to visit our offices so we could provide them withtraining. A lot of them were excited and come and train, however theyended up not coming to our offices.
We later learned that the reason for this was due to their lack of confidence in us as well as their own ability to make a living.
We then started conducting training workshops in their homes and trained a few women at a time. The training took about 6 months and included tools and equipment along with encouragement for these women. At the end of this training, they were able to make commercial quality products.
Once they reached that stage and were able to start making a livingcreating these products, something unexpected happened. The confidencein these women increased tremendously. They were no longer hesitant totravel to our offices to learn about new products and how to createthem. They wanted to work more and were open to new creations and beganencouraging other women in their community to get engaged.
Our goal was to find opportunities for these women to make a living, but in addition they ended up finding their VOICE. For people living in poverty, there is nothing more empowering than making a living.
Trade that is done responsibly and inclusively has the power to createemployment and opportunities for millions of people at risk around theglobe.
Matr Boomie's India team, SETU, has now opened a permanent women's training center as a place for women at risk to come and learn how to create products and make a living.
This center also becomes a safe house for women who unfortunately oftenface abusive situations at home. It is a joyful place where women canbring their children and spend time focusing on work along with buildingfriendships with other women.The products these women make are not onlygiving joy to people using them, but also to the hands that createthem.