Saturday, December 15, 2012


KAPADVANJ-AHMEDABAD, DECEMBER 15, 2012 :   DRISTI Don Bosco has been working in Kapadvanj for the last six years for the empowerment of women. Ninety Self Help Groups have been formed in the area.  This year DRISTI takes these self help groups to the second stage of its formation i.e. Clusters. Looking at the possibilities and the area we have been working in, we have formed eight clusters of these ninety groups.

The main objectives of these clusters are:
a. To strengthen the weak SHGs.
b. To monitor the SHGs of its clusters.
c. To help women to avail of bigger loans.
d. To help SHGs to start income generation activities.

Initially the idea was floated in the villages for last six months. At first the women couldn’t understand the importance of clusters but all the same they were ready to form the clusters. Thus, this year DRISTI made it one of their organizational objectives is to form eight clusters according to the area or the number of SHGs. The cluster is represented by two representatives from each cluster. The financial part is being seen by the SHGs. In order to be part of Cluster, membership fees of Rupees twenty have been collected. This money will be put in the name of the cluster.

Five cluster meetings were held in the month of November 2012. November 24, 2012 the Ratnagar cluster meeting was held. The Ratnagar cluster consists of eight SHGs, having sixteen members out of which fourteen members were present for the meeting. On November 26,  2012 the Chaptiya cluster met. There are seven SHGs with fourteen representatives in the cluster. On November 27, 2012  Bapuji na muvada consisting of seven SHGs with fourteen cluster members and seven other enthusiastic members were present for the meeting. On November 28, 2012 Gadiyara which consists of ten SHGs with twenty representative met and another fifteen women were present for the meeting. On November 29, 2012 Kasarij cluster consisting of five SHGs eight representatives gathered for the meeting.

These meetings in the villages had very positive impact on women as well as villagers themselves. They were enthused with new ideas in the SHGs. They were happy with SHGs being monitored by these clusters and have no problem with cluster intervention. The women were of the opinion that this will also unite the village and certain Income generation activities could be run by the clusters. Next we plan to have a common meeting at the DRISTI centre of all the Clusters.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Surekha Pednekar

MATUNGA-MUMBAI, DECEMBER 10, 2012 :  Don Bosco Development Society organized an exposure visit to “Creative Handicrafts” for the SHG leaders from the slum communities of Dharavi, Antop hill and Kurla. The visit was a great learning for these women as many of these were aspiring entrepreneurs looking for guidance in setting up of micro businesses.The visit was attended by twenty women and the staff of DBDS.

Creative Handicrafts is a social enterprise established in 1984 to empower disadvantaged women of the slum communities of Mumbai. Creative Handicrafts imparts training to the women to produce textile based handicrafts, soft toys and other utility items and market them in India and abroad. Over the years hundreds of women have benefited from the skill training provided by Creative Handicrafts.

Many of those who were trained are running their small businesses. There are others also who work for Creative Handicraft through their cooperatives and are paid for their work. Creative Handicraft is also a fair-trade organization and share its profits with it’s worker. There are about four hundred women workers who come from neighouring slum communities.

There is a Crèche for the children of ladies who work for Creative Handicraft.  After their visit to the centre the group was taken to their MIDC office where they pack, store and dispatch the finished goods. Creative Handicrafts earns 80% of its income from exports of its products to fair trade organizations in Spain, France, Italy, United States, etc. These organizations possess all the necessary status for imports. Today it exports both apparels and textile based handicrafts.

The SHG leaders interacted with the staff and workers and asked lot of questions on the raw material, production, quality control, packaging, marketing, selling etc. It was a good experience for them to see the entire chain of the business process. They learn the business discipline that is required for running such a business.

The visit ended with a meeting with Ms.Isabel Martin who is the founder and advisor of the organization. The SHG leaders took her blessing for running a successful business in future. Some of the SHG leaders were so inspired by their Crèche management that they started planning for establishing a Crèche. The visit created a tempo of thought process in the direction of becoming an micro entrepreneur.


Mahesh Kumar

MATUNGA-MUMBAI, DECEMBER 10, 2012 :  Don Bosco Development Society organized a half day workshop on Business Development for the staff and SHG leaders from the slum Communities. The workshop was attended by thirty women. The workshop was conducted by Mr. Pradip Walavalkar, a freelance business consultant. The workshop focused on small scale business, investment, market and characteristics of entrepreneurs.

The trainer started with the definition of small scale business, explained the scope with an example of Agarbatti business of the small scale. He informed that there are eight hundred and seventy two small scale industries that are supported by the MSSIDC (Maharashtra Small Scale Industries Development Corporation) and women in the communities can approach them and take advantage of their schemes. He also informed about the registration process to get registered with MSSIDC.

Speaking on the Market for the small scale industries the trainer cautioned on the crucial pitfalls in the production, promotion and marketing of the products. He stressed on the seven steps in setting up the business: Human resource, Capital, Raw Material, Market, Process, Machinery and Management. Each of these components plays a vital role in the overall business process and running a sustainable business.

The trainer then explained the benefits for the SCs and STs in the MSSIDC schemes and how to avail them. The trainer then gave valuable tips on the promotion, placement and marketing of the product and services. He stressed on the making participant understand the gap between the demand and supply in the market and understand the behaviour of the consumer. In the end Ms. Surekha Pednekar, summarized the session and planned for the way forward from the session.