The ISOS Women's Micro-Enterprise Class helps single, married and widowed women alike. It serves women of all faiths.
A women's leader at the KGM Kerala headquarters in India, Stelin, is forming micro-enterprise groups to help women learn how to handle money, save, and even start small business enterprises.
Women are poorly treated in India. The preference for boys haunts Indian girls all their lives. Girls receive significantly less education and nutrition than boys. From childhood to widowhood females are considered a financial burden to their families. Considered as less valuable than a cow, they are often sex trafficked or abandoned. Millions are lost every year to sex-selective abortions or midwife infanticide right after birth.
But thanks to Stelin's leadership that's all changing. The women in her classes are gaining freedom, self-confidence, and the tools they need to become self-sufficient.
The class merges micro-finance training with effective, holistic support including health, hygiene, nutrition, and Bible lessons. To join the class, each woman invests $25 in a joint savings account with the other students and commits to add $1 each week to the account. After a short waiting period, during which time the woman learns basic banking, accounting and accountability skills, she is eligible to borrow from the account. The Kerusomen Charitable Foundation oversees the account transactions and loan repayments, safeguarding the women's investments. They are not charged for this service. Many women save money to pay for their children's school fees and emergency funds. Other women use the loan option to open a business.
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Many Widows Are Anxious to Join Isos
Many widows in our Rescue Program want to work but for health reasons cannot do the labor or number of hours required to keep a job in the public sector. They also lack the education and work skills for less physically demanding positions.
Isos is a wonderful option for them. They can learn farming, tailoring, and hen rearing. Or take classes in making paper bags, jewelry, and umbrellas. These are opportunities they can work part-time from home. Perfect for the elderly and disabled and mothers with small children, too.
So why aren't they participating? The simple truth is they don't have the $25 initial investment to join. For them, $25 is a huge investment. Most of them have no income at all. Only about 30% of the women in India work outside the home.
And not because they're lazy. Multiple reliable sources find that women in India do the most unpaid work of any other country except one - Kazakhstan. The Economic Survey finds that 60 per cent of prime working-aged Indian women work full-time doing housework - at home for their families. Culturally it is expected that married women do virtually all of the housework and care-giving chores. These can take them up to 19 hours a day. But other issues keep women home, too. Of major concern is a rise in violence against women and unsafe workplaces that discourage them from seeking work, as well. This is especially true for women who are Muslim or from lower castes..
KGM has helped nearly 60 women. But you can help us start a new class for abandoned widows or give a deserving mother a head start. A one-time $25 gift enables a woman to participate. She'll do the rest.