Economic independence is about expanding the capacity of women to make genuine choices about their lives through full and equal participation in all spheres of life. It is about recognising women's work, paid and unpaid, as valuable, both socially and economically.
At Nishtha the first important work with the women is helping them understand the value of women's unpaid work and if economically valued this contributes to the larger economy of our country.
At Nishtha women are trained to become small entrepreneurs by saving their own funds. Each women's group has an elected Secretary, President and Treasurer and the women have group accounts and a smooth process of savings. It is imperative to mention that women are encouraged and also they spontaneously use such savings to ensure education and capacity of them children especially girls. These savings play an important role in education support for the children.
Nishtha has done much research on entrepreneurship options and marketing strategies for the women and about 500 women have taken up many such enterprises. They are supported by a loan by NISHTHA which they repay through monthly installments and upon total repayment of the loan the women can apply for another loan of the same amount. Based on their resources, skills and needs of their community, women have taken up locally relevant business options like Lace making, Kantha Stitch, 'Bori' making, 'Madur' making, and many other alternatives.
The entrepreneurships have helped women become economically independent and this has given them much decision making power not only in the family but other spaces in the community leadership.