By Aarya Hallikeri:
As part of a LEAD project, youngster Pallavi visited Dharmasthala, Karnataka, in 2014. There, she was inspired by the concept of Siri. Siri is a concept of women empowerment that was first taken up under the guidance of Mrs. Hemavathi V. Heggade, wife of Dr. D. Veerendra Heggade, Dharmadhikari of Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala and Chairman of SKDRDP. Under the Siri project, poor landless women are encouraged to take up various income-generation activities.
Pallavi, who had been brought up in rural India, had witnessed the hardships of rural life and was thus inspired to implement the SIRI project in her village too. She thought of starting by training women in handicrafts and enabling them to earn their livelihood. She took up this as a LEAD project.
Initially, she visited villages Kodekal, Hunasagi, Hokrani and Talikoti and explained to women her intention of training them. She also approached women who were skilled in making handicrafts. She requested them to take classes for untrained women. Thus, her training classes started. She taught basket weaving, embroidery, knitting, painting, etc. to empower them and make them economically independent. Through this training, women exchanged their knowledge and gained hands-on experience in a variety of arts.
The success of her first initiative inspired Pallavi to go ahead and push her boundaries. She thought of training women in food processing too. For this, she visited Haveri and observed a food processing unit. Pallavi approached the VIHAR group of companies and asked them to train women of her village too. After four months of repeated requests, they agreed to train her village women for four days. The first training program was conducted in Kodekal where 350 women participated. The training program was called ‘Food Production and Entrepreneurship.’ In the training camp, all women were taught to prepare a variety of papad, Chakkuli, various sweets, etc. Training for the other village women was also provided in their respective villages. Finally, 1500 women benefitted out of the training program.
Pallavi’s project has enabled 352 women to start their own businesses. They have started businesses like bangle making, animal husbandry, basket weaving, embroidery, knitting, painting, etc. Through her leadership skills, Pallavi helped catalyze change for others.