IKailashben Patel, Beenaben Patel, and Karishmaben Patel Khalasi are three determined women from traditional working households in Hazira who weren’t required to earn but aspired to have their own small business while nurturing their hobby and managing their homes. ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India (AM/NS India) – a joint venture between ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel – two of the world’s leading steel companies – through its national Skilling program, Lok Vikas Kendra (LVKs), provided a platform to these ‘women of steel’ who ‘chose to challenge’ the status quo.
At the onset of International Women’s Day, AM/NS India shares inspiring success stories of women entrepreneurs from Hazira, Gujarat.
The sweet taste of financial independence:
Kailashben Patel found out about the AM/NS India Lok Vikas Kendra and the plethora of courses the center offers for skill development. Upon enrolling for the course in baking, she was soon whipping up a range of food items, from chocolates and cookies to Indian sweets. Today, Kailashben earns anywhere between INR 10,000–15,000 in a month. Not only is she financially independent but is also saving for her daughter’s marriage.
Stitching their way to success:
Beena Patel was married at a young age. Though she had to give up her studies, she did not give up on her dreams and enrolled in the stitching program at the AM/NS India Lok Vikas Kendra. Within two years, she was creating a range of clothing items, from dresses for children to outfits for women and proudly contributing to the family’s income by INR 10,000 every month.
Realising a dream
Karishmaben Patel Khalasi always hoped to have a beauty salon of her own one day. She looked for various avenues in Surat that would enable her to become a beautician but the courses were all expensive. After hearing about the free courses for skill development at the AM/NS India Lok Vikas Kendra, she enrolled herself in the beautician course. Soon she was in a position to set up her beauty parlour and now has a monthly earning of INR 10,000–15,000. Karishmaben is leading a happy life while supporting her family financially and inspiring other women in the neighbourhood to lead a life of self-reliance.
Appreciating the efforts of the women entrepreneurs, Santosh Mundhada, Plant Head, AM/NS India, Hazira facility said, “As a responsible ‘neighbour of choice’, we are committed to uplifting the livelihood of the communities in which we operate. It was a privilege to be associated with women like Kailashben, Beenaben, and Karishmaben, who went beyond their call of household duty to fulfil their passion. On behalf of AM/NS India, we salute these women of steel and wish them a very happy international women’s day.”
The Lok Vikas Kendras located in Hazira, Rajgiri, Junagam, Damka, Mora, and Bhatlai, offer a diversity of free programs in stitching, baking, beauty therapy, and more. Of the programs offered, the course in tailoring has been a huge success with women in rural communities. Every year nearly 200 women complete the training in stitching from these centres. Besides offering regular training, the Lok Vikas Kendras also organise workshops on entrepreneurship and awareness sessions and seminars for the beneficiaries on various social issues including, marital rights, microfinance, domestic violence, human rights, menstrual hygiene, etc. The seminars inform and educate women about their rights and how they can exercise them at the time of need. Commitment towards the socio-economic development of local communities, education, healthcare, livelihood, and the environment tops the priority list for AM/NS India. In an attempt to make a positive impact on the community at large and support the Gujarat government, the company has been involved in several initiatives to improve the quality of life of the communities in various districts of Gujarat.