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Non Governmental Organization Benefiting Women And Children: Umeed Foundation In Punjab, India

1569 words - 7 pages

Non-Governmental Organization Benefiting Women and Children:
Umeed Foundation in Punjab, India
Non-Governmental Organizations or NGO’s are organizations that are neither a part of a government nor conventional for-profit businesses. Usually set up by ordinary citizens, NGOs may be funded by governments, foundations or businesses or run by volunteers (Wikipedia). In this paper I will discuss the Umeed Foundation, based in Punjab, India and focused on rural development of the Punjab region through economic empowerment and healthcare programs benefiting many women and children of the area. I will cover the core values of this foundation, the programs the foundation creates and supports as ...view middle of the document...

As noted through Umeed’s thorough website, their main projects focus on 6 major areas: Healthcare, Social and Economic Empowerment, Education, Employment, Social Enterprises and Public Grievances Awareness (Khanna). To cover the Social and Economic Empowerment section more in depth, Khanna had given and interview discussing some of the original needs and objectives that helped create the foundation: “The social welfare schemes launched by the state government could not meet their objectives, as there has been no coordinated system of vocational training centers. Under the economic empowerment program, the foundation undertakes skill development training like bag making, soap and candle making, pickles, stitching, embroidery, crotchet work etc.” (Roy). The social and economic empowerment programs are also assisting women in becoming micro entrepreneurs. The notion is that individual groups are formed of women from similar backgrounds; each woman contributes a small amount of money to a group fund from which members can take loans repayable at minimal interest rates (Roy). Umeed supports upwards of 400 of those self-help groups which have serviced over 5,000 people in the region and these micro-credit organizations have established new regional enterprises including dairy farming, small wares shops and book binding which help provide marketable skills to the local residents (Khanna).
Umeed’s skill development program has made great strides in the local residents who had a great need for financial independence. The local region had a very agrarian skill set, with a burgeoning lack of land availability. Umeed’s economic empowerment focus drove a skills development center creation throughout 90 locations in the region (Kamal). The learning centers train young women in cattle and dairy management, crochet, tailoring, knitting, candle and soap making and most importantly hygiene at home (Khanna). This kind of skill development paired with the localization of empowerment given by the micro-loan enterprise has allowed women to take hold of their economic situations, develop and implement successful business strategies and thereby create a steady, livable income for themselves that to date, had not been possible.
This kind of organization is incredibly influential to the population that is so often overlooked in a patriarchal society and the efforts of Umeed are creating long-standing traditions; skill sets that can be taught and passed down to future generations, business acumen that had previously not been prevalent in the female communities. It has given people strength in cause and efforts to help one another on a broad scale. This is so powerful to see on my side of the world where economic stability and resources are so rich and available. I have learned to be more thoughtful to these kinds of initiatives that are not very prominent in my day to day life, but certainly deserve attention at the sheer number of lives they are able...

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