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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.