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With an aim to empower rural women, the India wing of a Netherlands-based NGO is facilitating interactions and exchanges of self-help groups with corporates, who can bring in a sustainable income by creating jobs for them. Women on Wings (WoW) aims to bring together Dutch and Indian experts to curate an "innovative and flexible" plan to make women independent entrepreneurs. "By creating sustainable income, we create sustainable change. It becomes fertile soil for other social causes to take root and help the women and their families," says Ronald van het Hof, Joint Managing Director, (WoW). The NGO has reached out to women from the remotest areas in the country and seeks to train and educate them about the latest tools of trade to help them run their business and enable them to support their families financially. "WoW's mission is to co-create one million jobs for women in rural India and till today, almost 2 lakh jobs have been co-created through their efforts," says Maria van der Heijden, Co-founder, WoW. Talking about the transformation their lives have undergone, Durga Yadav from Rajasthan says that with women contributing to run the household, the perspective of the society towards working women has changed over time. "There was a time when we weren't even allowed to move out of the house, let alone work. But, once some of us started joining self-help groups and found work, gradually other women and families saw the benefit in it. "Men have also stopped drinking.
Women can now engage themselves in work and save up for family needs. We can stand on our own feet. There has been a lot of progress and we want to make a name for ourselves in the world," she says. To take their initiative forward, WoW recently held a 'Silent Auction' to get corporates and individuals to auction their time and expertise to help advance entrepreneurship programs for rural women. "Through the silent auction, we are looking to put both the corporates and the social enterprises in one place so both can engage and understand each other. "The participating social enterprises have their business in areas of Textile and Handicrafts, Food and Agri and Forestry, and can help these women with the logistics of running a business like marketing, branding etc," says Shilpa Mittal Singh, Joint Managing Director, WoW.
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