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     Commonwealth-PEC empowering slum women

Chandigarh, April 2nd 2006, Tribune News Service

Supported by the Commonwealth, PEC’s ambitious micro-financing project in the slums of Janata Colony, adjacent to the PGI, is ready to enter a fresh stage. Already having disbursed a loan of Rs 1 lakh to empower slum dwellers financially, PEC authorities have now hit upon another interesting idea. This one will directly benefit women who have, in the past, been engaged with the pickle-manufacturing project supported by PEC.

After achieving the target of marketing 2000 kg of pickle manufactured by these poor women annually, PEC faculty and students have now decided to engage them in the production of trifla — a herbal product which has a huge market in the region.

Speaking to Chandigarh Tribune, Dr M.L. Gupta, in charge of the Commonwealth Youth Credit Initiative of PEC, said, “We have decided to strike a collaboration with the Arya Samaj Temple in Panchkula, which has been selling trifla for a long time to prospective consumers in the region.

"What we intend to do is produce a high-quality trifla by altering the temperature at which its elements are ground. In normal procedure, trifla is prepared by griiding amla, bahera and harar on a high temperature which results in loss of essential qualities of this herbal product. But we will get the women of Janata Colony to do the grinding manually so as to conserve the richness of trifla.”

The product, hence, prepared will be marketed through the Arya Samaj in Panchkula and the profit will be shared by women who are involved in this yet another “project of economic viability”. It is interesting to note that the initial survey with regard to trifla and its sale in Panchkula was done by students of PEC, who have been involved in several innovative projects that help assisting slum dwellers financially.

Due to the pickle-manufacturing project being run by PEC under its CYCI programme, at least 25 women of Janata Colony have become bankable. They have individual accounts in the State Bank of India branch at PEC and their earnings are directly deposited in these accounts. Dr Gupta said, “One of the objectives of the CYCI, which has been successful all over India, has been making poor women bankable and helping them take control of their lives”.

While the trifla project will soon be formalised, the PEC-supported pickle project is already generating a good income for women in the slum colony. At any given time, they have at least Rs 2,000 in their accounts. For those who wish to aid the effort here is some news — products made by slum women can be purchased from PEC’s Placement Cell. The proceeds go directly to beneficiaries.

 | Original Source of News

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