The Alicon Group collaborates with the Bansuri Foundation
on various social initiatives. BF endeavours to transform lives in village India,
enabling rural women to become economically independent and self-reliant. In an
effort to promote sustainable livelihoods in India, we support BF in its partnership
with NGO Ashta No Kai and their Dairy Project in Sone Sangvi village near Pune.
Ashta No Kai Dairy Project:
Ashta No Kai (ANK) is an NGO that is dedicated to empowering rural women. ANK, through
its efforts to promote and facilitate the capacity-building of marginalized women
is seeking lasting solutions to illiteracy, poverty, economic inequities and social
injustice. It aims to make a difference in village women’s lives by providing
them with the education, vocational skills, and resources they need to become economically
independent and self-reliant.
It has been working since October 1998 in 10 villages
of Shirur Taluka in Pune District. The project covers drought prone villages and
hamlets located at distances between 45 to 70 kilometres from Pune with an approximate
population of 15,000. The villages, in sharp contrast to the developed industrialized
cities on their fringes, are agrarian, economically marginalized, and lacking in
basic infrastructure, such as adequate and clean water supply, electricity, basic
health care facilities, and roads.
As in many other parts of the country, the status of women
in Shirur Taluka too is low. Poverty, ignorance, illiteracy and political compulsions
continue to hamper progress and improvement in the quality of their lives. Women
suffer from a lack of opportunities due to social traditions and superstitions.
In addition, most villages lack skill or vocational training facilities as well
as job opportunities.
Sone Sanghavi was identified for the Dairy Project because
it is a shining beacon for other villages in micro-credit schemes. It has 16 Self-Help
Groups (SHGs) functioning successfully for the last eight years. Each is a strong
and confident group with a history of healthy financial transactions and timely
loan repayments to the SHGs as well as the banks from which they have taken lakhs
of rupees in loans.
The project has had a diverse impact on the village, ranging
from the provision of sustainable livelihood opportunities for women, to the promotion
of a higher generation and better quality of milk production, thereby creating a
better awareness of health amongst the rural population. In addition, women are
able to take another step towards their own empowerment by being involved in dairy
management, promoting a higher status for women as managers and income generators
for the village economy.