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The Beauty of Empowering Women

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HOUSTON: Pratham’s Beauty Entrepreneurship Program enables women from rural India to become confident, self-reliant, and inspiring individuals Mulla, Sanghmitra, Baishna, Kashmiri  and nearly 270 others from rural, underprivileged pockets of India have done their parents proud. They have found their calling. Apart from supporting their families, these women aided with their vocation, their confidence, and their undying spirit –have inspired so many other young girls saddled by unemployment to step forward from impoverished backgrounds and grow self-reliant.  They all are heroes in their own right.

Under its Vocational Skills Program, Pratham launched the Beauty Entrepreneurship Program in November 2011. The goal of this program is simple: create employment opportunities at the local level.

Women often face gender-based barriers and the constraint of mobility and migration. They lack finances, schooling, and technical know-how. This is where Pratham comes in. The Entrepreneurship Program extends assistance in terms of training, mentorship, and raw material support. They educate candidates on market information and demand patterns.

Entrepreneurship at work
Sanghmitra from a village, outside Chhattisgarh was losing hope after her father passed away; she and her mother were in dire need of an income that could support them. Lack of schooling, and skills made it impossible for Sanghmitra to find a job. On her mother’s insistence, she enrolled in Pratham’s  Beauty Entrepreneurship Program. Shy in the beginning, Sanghmitra gradually developed skills in cosmetology and business. Pratham approved her request for a loan, and today she runs her beauty parlor from her home where she also teaches beauty training to other women in her community.

The program paves the way for access to formal finance mechanisms, raw material support and capital.  Mulla, from Mumbai studied till the 10th grade and was married soon after. She needed help supporting her two young children when she joined Pratham’s Basic Beauty Course and soon earned a Government Authorized Certificate in Beauty. Mulla, now successfully runs her own beauty shop and plans to open another branch in the nearby market.  Her goal is to hire the girls she has trained.

Pratham’s Door-to-Door Entrepreneur model focuses on preparing budgets and business proposals, basic business mathematics and effective methods communication.  On completion, students are provided with Joint Certification from Pratham, Godrej (knowledge partner), and the Government.

So far, Pratham has supported 276 beauty entrepreneurs. More than 500 youth have been trained in beauty services by these entrepreneurs. The centers are spread across India and about 90 per cent of the investments have already been repaid by the entrepreneurs.

The good news doesn’t stop here: Two women from Pratham’s Dibrugarh Beauty Center, Baishna and Kashmiri were so inspired by their new careers that they entered into the World Skill Competition, an international event with over 60 countries participating.  They each won medals in local competitions and had an opportunity to compete in the National Round in India.

Each of these women armed with an education and an enterprising mindset have embarked on a new journey, one that only makes them stronger, smarter, and ready to walk out of the shackles of poverty.

For more information on Pratham USA, visit www.prathamusa.org . Tel: 713 774 9599

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