An all-women Nehru Yuva Kendra (NYK) stall is a major success at the Hindu Spiritual Fair of AM Jain College, reported by TNIE. At the festival which attracts thousand visitors ever day, this particular stall has stood out for two reasons, one -it is completely run by women and two-their products of jute such as hand-bags and mats, which have become popular among visitors.

Mostly school-dropouts from the small town of Kanchipuram, these women signed up for the NYK to learn various skills. These Kendras, which are centrally sponsored, come under a scheme which was initiated by the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports to make rural women self-reliant. The ministry set up around 623 NYKs in the entire country and a web of youth clubs was created to target areas where it is most needed.

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Trained by experts from Madurai, these women learnt how to make jute bags, single-use cloth bags used at restaurants, marriages and candles and handicrafts for free. After becoming proficient, they opened their own manufacturing unit with the help of the local panchayat. Now, after paying the bills and loan interest, they get somewhere in between Rs4000 to Rs5000 individually.

“Despite being a meagre amount, this plays a crucial role in educating my daughters,” said 35-year-old G Kirubavathi to TNIE. Kirubavathi dropped out of school due to financial constraints in her family.

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The NYK centres have changed the lives of many young, semi or uneducated women, providing them with skills they can earn use to to earn their living from. No doubt, a positive initiative.

Feature Image Credit: Dreams Time