AWAKE : Association of women entrepreneurs of Karnataka
What a Life
In India women are still to find their footing financially. Even today well educated women sit at home to raise a family rather than continue working. For the majority of the middle class husbands it is still a matter of concern that the woman wants to leave the comfort of the home and work.
The man feels he is an inadequate provider if she insists on working. The younger generation is taking it in their stride in urban areas, but in the rural regions its another story. Perhaphs the history of this lies in the fact that India was primarily an agricultural society. Every one had to toil in the fields. So as soon as the family was prosperous enough to hire some help the first thing was to take the women out of the fields.
To work was unnecessary for these more fortunate women. Then came industrialization and men went to towns to seek work. The women were left behind in the villages to take care of the family, the land and any other issues. The man would send home money from the city and visit once a year. Women were again required to stay at home and keep an eye on things.
Then educating the kids became an issue. Most rural youth was put into hostels in urban areas to continue their learning. This became an exposure to the outside world and few wanted to return to the village. The girls included. So many opted for jobs in towns. Unfortunately getting the daughter married is still a major issue with most parents. So this girl would choose to marry into a relatively urban society.
There she would be expected to be the traditional rural wife and stay at home. Naturally it was something not acceptable. Yet most of them conform, have babies and adjust as well as they can. Then when they have some spare time, they start up little buisnesses from the home. These side buisnesses is what AWAKE helps and supports women with.
Financial Independence for women
AWAKE is the association of women entrepreneurs of Karnataka. Bangalore based, the institute was started by 7 visionary women in 1983. They were Ms. Madhura Chatrapathy, Ms. Kiran Majumdar, Ms. Lekha Chand, Ms. Shandrila Naidu, Ms. Indrajeet Sahani, Ms. Aban Minochar,and Ms. Supanya Datta.
What started out as a small venture is today a state wide organization. They are not only helping women learn new skills, they also help set up businesses for them to gain financial independence. AWAKE now has a number of projects on in the Indian state of Karnataka. They provide training for mushroom cultivation, agarbati making, food retailing, and many other similar projects.
Women can attend the training workshops and set up shop in their own homes. Many have progressed well with their enterprises. The sucess stories on their website tell their tale. A number of case studies are available for motivation.