The Jammu and Kashmir Rural Livelihoods Mission (JKRLM) hosted the second edition of the SARAS Aajeevika Mela in Srinagar, a cultural fair showcased unique and indigenous products from various states and UTs of India. The event, which ran for 11 days starting from March 15, 2023, was exclusively women-led and aimed to provide a platform for women’s Self Help Groups (SHGs) to promote and sell their self-made products.
Women-Led Self-Help Groups
Self Help Groups (SHGs) are community-based organizations formed by individuals, typically women, who pool their resources and skills to create micro-enterprises. These micro-enterprises range from agriculture, handicrafts, and tailoring to catering and other small-scale industries. SHGs play a significant role in empowering women and improving their livelihoods, particularly in rural areas.
The SARAS Aajeevika Mela is a celebration of the work of these SHGs, particularly those run by women. The event provides a platform for these groups to showcase their products and services, network with other groups, and learn from each other’s experiences. By promoting their products, the fair helps the groups to earn a livelihood and become financially independent.
Unique Products Showcased
The SARAS Aajeevika Mela featured unique and indigenous products from various states and UTs of India. The products ranged from traditional textiles, handicrafts, and jewelry to food, cosmetics, and household items. The fair allowed visitors to explore and appreciate the rich diversity of India’s cultural heritage.
The fair also allowed visitors to meet and interact with the women behind the products. Many women came from marginalized communities and faced numerous challenges in setting up and running their micro-enterprises. By sharing their stories and experiences, they inspired others and highlighted the importance of women’s economic empowerment.
Women’s Economic Empowerment for Sustainable Development
Women’s economic empowerment is vital in achieving sustainable development and gender equality. When women have access to economic opportunities and resources, it can positively impact their families and communities. For instance, it can contribute to poverty reduction and improved health and education outcomes for themselves and their children. Furthermore, promoting women’s economic participation can help reduce the gender wage gap and increase women’s representation in leadership positions, both in the public and private sectors. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize and invest in initiatives that support and enhance women’s economic empowerment, such as providing education and training opportunities, improving access to financial services, and promoting policies that support gender equality and women’s rights in the workplace.
The SARAS Aajeevika Mela is one example of how women’s economic empowerment can be promoted through self-help groups and micro-enterprises. By providing a platform for these groups to showcase their products and services, the fair helps to increase their visibility and expand their markets. This, in turn, helps to create sustainable livelihoods for women and their families.
The SARAS Aajeevika Mela is an important event that celebrates the work of self-help groups run by women. The fair provides a platform for these groups to showcase their products and services and promotes their economic empowerment. By supporting these groups, we can contribute to achieving gender equality, reducing poverty, and promoting sustainable development.