Thursday, 2 August 2007
ICAAP8: Biz Enterprises by HIV Women In India
August 22, 2007
By Syed Akbar
Colombo, Aug 21: Women suffering from HIV/AIDS in India will soon be able to set up their own business enterprises so that they could lead an economically independent life.
The UNDP's Regional HIV and Development Programme launched an economic programme exclusively for women suffering from HIV/AIDS in India, Cambodia and China, at the ongoing 8th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific here on Tuesday.
The economic programme named Women and Wealth Project will enable groups of women living with HIV run small, market-savvy social enterprises, with technical and marketing support from United National Development Programme, Population and Community Development Association of Thailand, international agencies, and the private sector. The Population and Community Development Association will provide the HIV positive women with business management training to assist them in developing business plans before establishing their specific enterprises.
“Access to credit is a human right, as is the right for women living with HIV to be economically secure and independent. The beauty of this project is the economic empowerment it provides for the women, individually and collectively, and using a new and fresh approach through the strategy of business to provide them with business skills that they can use in overcoming the barriers associated with living with HIV,” said Mechai Viravaidya, founder and chairman of PDA, Thailand.
“As I have often said, to combat the issue of HIV we all must think out of
Besides providing regular income and greater economic security for women living with HIV, this project is also focused on establishing a sustainable socially focused business. The Women Wealth Project also aims to reduce stigma and discrimination, improving self-esteem and camaraderie among the women, and ensuring ARV adherence. For example, in India and Cambodia, HIV/AIDS infected women employees are on anti-retroviral therapy and the new safe working environment allows them to support each other and take their ARV together.
When each business is generating sufficient revenue, the net profits will be pooled into initiating a micro-credit program specifically designed for people living with HIV and based on PDA’s “Positive Partnership Project.
The PPP was devised by PDA and has been highly successful in Thailand in providing economic opportunities for people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS. This project is now being replicated in India and China on a massive scale to help HIV positive women. It is economic empowerment as a means to reducing stigma and discrimination.
“In a rapidly feminising epidemic, the socio-economic independence of women is essential – it enables women to cope with the devastating impact of the epidemic on their family life and sources of livelihood. Smart skills and regular incomes can reduce situations of HIV-vulnerability and helps positive women live with dignity and security,” said Ms. Caitlin Wiesen, regional HIV/AIDS team leader and programme coordinator, UNDP Regional HIV and Development Programme.
Indian HIV positive women will follow in the footsteps of their Cambodian ounterparts who have set up a garment manufacturing business called “Modern Dress Sewing Factory” employing 30 HIV positive women. In India, the Positive Women Network has already established a conceptual design and printing business called “Social Light Communications” employing two HIV positive women and two men.
Each business will be marketed under the common “WE” brand (Women Empowered), with the aim to gaining market access for their products and services both locally and internationally.
“This project is a demonstration that we can be economically independent if given a level playing field and a little support. We would request private sector companies to extend preferential trade offers with us,” said Ms. Srim Phan of MDSF. “Our main appeal is to garment exporters and importers, and apparel industries,” she adds.
“We are not looking for charity, but partnerships for empowerment. If we can access even a miniscule fraction of the market, it can make a big difference to our lives,” said P Kousalya, client services manager for SLC, Chennai.
“The process of learning news skills and working together with groups of HIV positive women in other countries is very powerful and empowering. WWP has helped us regain self-confidence and dignity, which were shattered after the diagnosis of HIV infection,” said Ms. Li of Colorful Clouds Yunnan.
Word Of The Day - Improve Your Knowledge
Word of the Day
|Definition:||Equipment, such as clothing, tools, or instruments, used for a specific purpose or task.|
Quote of the Day
Every traveler has a home of his own, and he learns to appreciate it the more from his wandering.