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Go vocal for local.

India is a country rich in culture and heritage. It's full of festivities, varied landscapes and beautiful people. The Indian festivals have been an integral part of our lives from time immemorial when they were celebrated for various reasons, such as celebrating the harvest season or honouring one's ancestors. And now, with India becoming a growing market for SMEs (small-to-medium enterprises), these celebrations are giving them opportunities to create jobs and earn more revenue too.

Festivals are boon to SMEs
It is observed during major festivals like Diwali, Navratri, Eid, etc, there is a significant rise in demand for various products like idols, decorations, jewellery items, home artefacts, among other items, which leads to increased production by SME players. Traditional women's garments are now being replaced with high-end fashion wear at the time of festivals. Artists are being employed by these players to design them according to the changing trend.
Diwali, which is one of the most popular Indian festivals celebrated during October or November every year, provides employment to about 4 million people who work in the industry. Apart from this, there are jobs like making lotus lamps that require intricate handwork skills which can be done by only trained artisans.

lit candles on the festival of diwali Diwali, celebrated during October or November every year, provides employment to about 4 million people who work in the industry. | Photo by Udayaditya Barua on Unsplash

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The roles and responsibilities of many of the women from these families have changed overnight.

In a bid to help women from families that have lost their breadwinners to Covid-19 in the recent surge in India, the IC3 Institute, a U.S. non-profit, will enable them with training and employment opportunities. These women will be trained as career counsellors and connected with full-time employment opportunities within IC3's global network of high schools, says the Institute.

"The battle against Covid-19 is far from over as communities grapple with the socio-economic aftermath of the diseases such as hunger, poverty, and unemployment. One such challenge is the loss of the breadwinner in many families. The recent mortality analysis of Covid-19 deaths indicates a higher number of male deaths than females. This results in the possibility of the death of a male member of the family, who in the case of traditional Indian families, is often the breadwinner. Women have lost their husbands, daughters have lost their fathers and parents have lost their sons- perhaps the sole earner of the family. We came across countless stories of such women and their unimaginable suffering because of the pandemic in India. After losing loved ones, they now stand at the brink of imminent poverty, a cycle it will take them a couple of generations to come out of.

"The roles and responsibilities of many of the women from these families have changed overnight. With no breadwinner in the family, these women need to find employment and provide for their families or else the family will be pushed into poverty. Interim relief measures provided by the government and community organizations can provide temporary comfort but is nowhere close to being a sustainable and long-term solution. Without any employable skill/training or a livelihood opportunity, how will these women provide for their families in the long run," the Institute told IANSlife.

According to Ganesh Kohli, Founder, IC3 Movement and Chair, Board of Trustees, IC3 Institute, through the initiative, women from distressed families will be provided financial aid and welfare, training and education to become career counsellors, upskilling to prepare them to join the modern workforce, and socio-emotional counselling and life skills training, and will be linked to schools in their region to ensure sustainable employment opportunities.

Covid Survivor Without any employable skill/training or a livelihood opportunity, how will these women provide for their families in the long run? Photo by Unsplash

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