Amid the COVID-19 lockdown, the Jammu and Kashmir Rural livelihoods Mission known as ‘UMEED’ has got a new lease of life for several rural women by providing them a platform of Self Help Group (SHG).

This year, the SHG forayed into branding and marketing sanitisers, bathroom cleaners, and other disinfectants. The women, who are a part of the SHG, have started to eke out their living amid the pandemic. Over 20 women from impoverished families of Ladhoo Pampore village of Pulwama district in South Kashmir have started a SHG for branding and marketing cleaning reagents to fight COVID-19

Under the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM’s) UMEED scheme, the Centre reaches out to women in rural areas to empower them with the help of SHGs. Each woman is encouraged to deposit a sum of Rs 100 monthly. If needed, women can later take loans against this deposit for starting a small business and repay them in easy monthly installments.

This scheme has not only made women financially independent but also help in keeping the community safe amid the pandemic. The basic aim of SHG of women, also known as Saffron Cleaning Reagents is to try to eradicate poverty from the community

A member of the group, Nelofar Jan said, “The scheme aims at providing livelihood to women so that they do not have to depend on anyone, and become Selfdependent”. According to the Program Manager of NRLM Pulwama, Arshid Hussain, “Amid the pandemic, we thought of starting some livelihood program so that our community
gets the economic benefit and remains clean in the process.”

He told that there are around 20 women in this SHG presently, and they started with making cleaning reagents and then selling them in the markets. “By doing this, they are taking care of themselves and their surroundings. In the
present time, everyone is using hand wash and sanitisers to keep the community clean and safe from coronavirus”, he added.

Another member of the group, Asiya Maqbool added, “These products are being used by everyone these days. We have hand wash, sanitizers, and other cleaning reagents . Anyone who needs them contacts us directly.
This scheme has helped us a lot”.

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