Social Impact

Empowering Women, Changing Lives

An Holistic Approach to Empowerment

We believe that women, unskilled and disadvantaged can change their own world... And then, like a ripple turning into a tide, women can change our world.

I am thankful to Creative Handicrafts for giving me the courage to face life when I had no one to lean on, for helping me overcome my problems and single handedly raise my children

Suvidha Therade - member of Creative Handicrafts Cooperative

I am thankful to Creative Handicrafts for giving me the courage to face life when I had no one to lean on, for helping me overcome my problems and single handedly raise my children

Suvidha Therade - member of Creative Handicrafts Cooperative

Education & Childcare

Investing in the next generation

135

children were impacted through Balwadi's last year

Pre-school education

Balwadi

The Balwadi Project caters to the educational development of children aged 3 to 6 years from the slum and tribal area in Andheri and Goregaon Aarey milk colony. Currently, 5 Balwadis function in slums and in the tribal hamlets.

The Balwadis were started in response to the problem of malnutrition and non-enrolment in school among children in the slums and tribal colonies around Andheri. The Creative Handicrafts Balwadis provide foundational learning and ensure that children are enrolled into school at the right age.

Child Development Centre

Balvikas Kendra

The Child Development Centre (CDC) or Balvikas Kendra as it is known in the local dialect, was started with the aim of providing a safe place for children from the community to spend time, study and rest while their parents are at work. To begin with, these were children of people engaged in begging.

Today, any needy family can enroll their child (aged 3 to 16 years) in the CDC at a nominal cost of Rs.10 per month. Children are provided with breakfast and lunch. A full-time teacher looks over their school work and ensures their homework is completed. Children enrolled at a CDC are much less likely to drop out of school and their chances of pursuing higher education are greatly improved.

130

children were supported by the Child Development Centre last year

189

children benefited from Creative Handicrafts' daycare in the past year

Creche

When Creative Handicrafts first began, women brought their little ones to the Cooperatives while they worked. Trying to work and care for their child at the same time was far from ideal! This led to the creation of a day crèche for Cooperative members and the women who come into the training centers. During the workday, this provides a safe place for their children aged 6 months to 16 years. The children benefit from daily nutrition, play, rest and tuition at the crèche.

School-going children are helped with their studies and smaller kids are cared for. The crèche also makes it possible for mothers to breastfeed their babies or check on them when needed because it is located next to the Cooperatives where the women work.

Education Sponsorship

One way to help women in the slum break free from poverty is to help them educate their children. Creative Handicrafts runs a sponsorship program in partnership with the NGOs, Tramundi (Spain) and La Joyeuse Vague (Belgium). They help support the educational expenses of around 150 children. You can sign up for the sponsorship program too!

Children aspiring to complete their higher education are also supported. These children are encouraged to support another deserving child once they have become financially self-reliant.

91

university graduates, sponsored through Creative Handicrafts

Healthcare

Health Camps

Good health determines the quality and capacity of the women to manage their work and their family life. However, many women neglect their health for the sake of their family or due to insufficient finances.

Preventive care is seen as a low priority in the community as a whole. Health camps are run to help establish its importance and make health care more accessible to the women members and their children.

Over 200 people benefit from the health camps that are held every year.

  • Eye checkups

  • Cancer screening

  • Gynecological checkups

  • TB detection and awareness

  • HIV AIDS awareness

  • First aid courses

  • Reproductive health awareness

  • Eye checkups

  • Cancer screening

  • Gynecological checkups

  • TB detection and awareness

  • HIV AIDS awareness

  • First aid courses

  • Reproductive health awareness programs

Mutual Health Fund

Arogyanidhi

Disadvantaged women and their families often struggle to maintain good health. A lack of funds means they either cannot adequately address their needs or they take loans which may financially cripple them. For a time, Creative Handicrafts supported these women through the generosity of donors. However, a more structured way of addressing health emergencies was needed
 
A mutual health fund called Arogyanidhi was started in January 2010. It is a substitute for medical insurance, maintained entirely by Creative Handicrafts. All members of the Cooperative are eligible to join. Members pay a fixed amount every month as a premium , with a matching contribution made by Creative Handicrafts. Medical expenses are reimbursed when the need arises.
 
Arogyanidhi has helped women overcome the worry of financial constraints when a medical crisis hits.

Economic & Social Empowerment

Skills Training

Sewing training is provided to women from the slum and tribal community who are unskilled and facing a severe financial crisis in their families. Women are selected after a survey of their socio-economic status. Keeping in mind the financial struggles they face, they are paid a stipend to help provide some relief while they learn the intricacies of sewing.

A woman's progress in the tailoring course is assessed at the end of the 3rd and 4th months. Those who have achieved a satisfactory skill-level are moved into the existing Cooperatives to eke out a living. Women who pick up the skills more quickly are shifted to the cooperatives much sooner.

60

women are trained to sew each year

13

groups, each with around 20 women

Fair Trade Cooperative Groups

Once trained, a woman joins the Cooperative as a member of a group. These groups produce textile based handicrafts, garments, accessories and soft toys. The Cooperative is managed by its women members.

Each Cooperative has its own bank account and administrative setup. An elected head of the group supervises and guides production activity ensuring the timely completion of orders. She serves as the link between the Cooperative and Creative Handicrafts' central office. The central office assists the Cooperatives in securing orders, marketing and sales of products and overall financial management.

Flexible Employment Options

The Home Project was initiated in order to provide employment opportunities on a part-time basis to women who have skills but are not able to join the Cooperative.

Around 400 women assist in embroidery and patchwork. These women are associated with Creative Handicrafts for 3 to 4 months every year. This part-time, home-based employment helps them supplement the income of their households, while also allowing them to be present at home for their families.

400

women employed in part-time positions

20

women prepare meals each day

Project Asli Food

Project Asli Food was initiated to provide an employment opportunity to those women who came from financially disadvantaged situations but could not pick up sewing skills.

Lunchbox services, party and catering orders are received and successfully executed by these women all on their own strength. At present over 510 lunch boxes are prepared, packed and delivered each day by 20 women under the Asli Food project.

Capacity Building

Over the years we have seen a transformation not only in the economic status of the women but also socially. We have seen the women draw strength from the various awareness programs, counseling and guidance provided by social workers at Creative Handicrafts. These women then step out to provide support for others in their group who face similar situations. This is the core purpose of the capacity building sessions and programs.

The capacity building is primarily based on the issues of women empowerment, gender equality and ending violence against women.

The goal is for women to stand up for equality and build a violence-free society.

Topics include:

  • Perspectives on gender and sex

  • Building violence-free marriages

  • Types of violence against women

  • Identification and prevention of child sexual abuse

  • Legal awareness

  • Safety of women in public spaces

  • Understanding patriarchy and its effects

1500

women benefit from Saving & Credit groups

Saving & Credit groups

Earning combined with saving is the only way to ensure that the women do not fall into a debt cycle with money lenders. With this in mind, Creative Handicrafts started Saving and Credit groups.

After 6 months of regular savings contributions, women are eligible to take a loan. Members are encouraged to take loans for educational purposes, medical emergencies and for entrepreneurial activities. The Saving and Credit groups are managed by the social work department of Creative Handicrafts.

At present 120 groups with a total of 1500 women in the community are benefiting from this program.