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Empowering and Enhancing the Occupation of Women Vendors

This particular project has been designed and implemented with a view to include the marginalized and deprived women in the development process. It is an effort to enable them to keep par with others. It is a known fact that due to the political unrest during the Bodoland Movement and subsquently the ethnic class between two ethnic communities had rendered several people homeless and jobless. Such a tragic event had forced women to take up a profession which are culturally and socially not recognized as theirs and getting into the profession of vendor is one of them. But in the recent times, the unemployed women are getting into this profession without any hesitation and now-a-days they are in the process of snatching away the dominating power in the market from their male counterpart. But an informal study carried out by NERSWN revealed that they have innumerable tragic tales to tell. Thus, to share their tragedy the NERSWN with the financial assistance from the Department of Cottage Industries, Bodoland Territorial Council has taken up this particular project. Through this project efforts are on the render following services:

  • Mobile Bank (MB): Mobile Bank keeps moving from one place to another. It consists of Barefoot Bankers. It doesn’t have any particular place; it basically attends the women vendors at their work place. If necessary it gives credit of small amounts to the women vendors without any interest.
  • Barefoot Bankers (BB): Barefoot Bankers moves around the market and provides fund to the needy and deserving women vendors based on their requirement. After financing they keep monitoring the progress of client’s business. BB also encourages the Women Vendors (WV) to save their portion of income. They will also maintain a good relationship with local banks. BB motivates the WV to open an account with the local banks. Initially Women Vendors can save money in their account through BB but gradually they’ll be encourages to handle by their own.
  • Multi-Purpose Workers (MPW): Multi-Purpose Workers takes the role of forming affinity groups of Women Vendors. MPW looks for the alternative source of livelihood for the vendors if they are interested especially of county liquor sellers. MPW also emphasizes on making client’s work place hazard free. They makes home visit through which they study the socio-economic conditions, for instance-educational problem and prospect of clients siblings, heaalth problems, occupation of dependence, housing, sanitation, addiction in the family etc. They also conduct group sessions with the women vendors on various issues.
  • Trained Professional (TP): Based on the outcome of the MPWs study, the Trained Professional intervenes to provide health and life insurance coverage, mental health services, supporting children’s education, enhancing the support system through engaging the dependence with productive and income generating¬ activities, linking the family with the existing development program, schemes, projects to provide housing, sanitation etc.
  • Theatre Team (TT): The NERSWN with its own effort formed a Theatre Team with a view to reach out to the community with information and communication for social change. TT organizes street plays to create hygiene, alcoholism etc. It also strives to enhance the social acceptance of the profession of women vendors through which the social status of the women vendors will improve.

Currently this project is confined to Gossaigaon only but efforts are on the expand the project in the other parts of Kokrajhar and Chirang districts. Till now more than 30 women vendors have been financed, rendered direct and indirect services.

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