OUR JOURNEY SO FAR
Our journey began in the year 2003. Two years earlier. Mrs. Chinni Swamy had moved into the Purkal village. The deplorable conditions of the women of this area impelled her to start, a livelihood programme for them. She earning decent wages their status in the family and the community automatically improved. Since the only skill the women had at that time was cooking, a project was started for the production of namkeens and snacks. Though initially it was a great success, for various reasons the project failed. Undaunted, she started exploring alternate avenues to help the women. In the absence of an ethnic craft using which the women could earn, she decided to skill them with the crafts of patchwork, applique and quilting. It is thus that training and skill enhancement became an integral part of this project. At its inception Stree Shakti was a division of the Purkal Youth Development Society (PYDS) and was ably managed by its directors. They helped nurture this division, providing working capital, equipment and infrastructure. Our products were first exhibited in Gurgaon in 2007. This exposure helped Stree Shakti comprehend the market and expand its product range. Quilts, Baby quilts, Cushion Covers, Bags and Pouches were designed and added to its product range. The women were also trained to make these new products. Initially, the project functioned from the residence of Mrs. Swamy. In 2008, PYDS helped it move into a new building in their campus. This building was possible mostly because of the generous donation of Late Shri Manoj Swami. In November 2010, Stree Shakti assumed a new identity when it was spun off from PYDS as a separate Society. Purkal Stree Shakti Samiti (PSSS) as it is now called, continues to work form the PYDS campus in a comfortable, hygienic and airy building owned by the. In 2013, a new outreach centre was started in Gangol Panditwari. In 2015, yet another was inaugurated in village Jharipani. The number of beneficiaries has presently grown to 178. They have organized themselves into 10 self-help groups (SHGs)). All these SHGs are independent economic entities working under the umbrella of PSSS. They benefit from joint purchases, design development, organization management and marketing initiative of PSSS. Training goes on in the various aspects of their business. Apart from the craft skills, the society helps the women acquire skills in retailing, designing, marketing and entrepreneurship with the intention of making the women independent business managers in the future.