Rising above poverty: The 28 women employed by IPHD through our ethical fashion social enterprise Saheli Women earn a monthly salary well above the Indian poverty line.
Financial empowerment: Bhikamkor women were previously all housewives who did not contribute to the formal economy. Now, through the Microenterprise Project and Saheli Women, the women are able to contribute to their household incomes, some even becoming the primary source of income, which has instilled confidence in the women and earned them greater respect in their families and their communities.
Economic diversification: The Microenterprise Project launched or expanded nine female-run businesses — in industries including dairy production, broom making, the sale of women’s accessories and grocery stores — to diversify the agricultural and male-dominated economy.
Better health care coverage: IPHD provides health insurance coverage for each woman who is employed through Saheli Women.
Better education: IPHD is financially supporting all the daughters of Saheli Women employees to go to school, which includes providing school and exam fees, uniforms, backpacks, notebooks and stationery. IPHD also opened a library in the Saheli Community Center, which children often frequent to read, color and play in as their mothers work in the nearby production facility.
Stronger families: With mothers bringing in additional income, families in the village are enjoying a higher quality of life, with better food, clothes, homes, health and education. Women in the village have also reported that their husbands are treating them with more respect and allowing them to have more decision-making power in their homes.
Socialization: Women in Bhikamkor used to rarely leave the house because they needed a purpose and permission from their husbands. Now, the 28 Saheli Women employees have become great friends. They visit the Saheli Community Center to socialize and to gain support during times of hardship. The children in Bhikamkor also love coming to the Saheli Community Center Library after school to have fun with their peers.
Safe space: When women in Bhikamkor leave the house, they have to cover their faces because of traditional cultural norms. In the Saheli Community Center, women do not have to cover their faces because no adult men are allowed in the space. The Saheli Community Center has a zero-tolerance policy against gender, religious and caste discrimination.