Livelihood Development and Support

Livelihood development: Establish a basket of income generating assets that may or may not replace UUPP participants' present occupations, but could enhance them through training or provide an additional source of income. The women who show entrepreneurial ability are given the choice of "asset baskets," which will provide them with the materials to start their own enterprises. Women who prefer wage labour will be given vocational training.

Livelihood counseling: Field staff provides extensive vocational counseling to UUP families as they make livelihood choices. While Parinaam does not make the decisions for them, we believe that intensive individual counseling helps them to make good choices.

Need-based stipends: If required, the stipend will be tailored to each family's individual sustenance needs. It will be tied to a mandatory personal savings fund which will provide the UUPP participants with a "financial reserve" and encourage savings habits and the wherewithal to cope with crises.

Case studies:

Case study 1: Chowdamma's story

Chowdamma is a widow with one child. She was working part time as a daily labourer. She has attended our meetings from the time we started work in the LRDE slum in Bangalore in June 2010. The challenge with her was to understand what she wanted as a livelihood as she changed her mind every day. Finally she decided on housekeeping, but backed out in the last minute for the three interviews we had set up. However, once she saw her contemporaries making good money and with intense counseling from the community workers she finally took a housekeeping job in the tech part close to the slum. She is now addicted to earning a good salary; doing overtime, working on holidays and earning Rs. 6000 per month!

Case study 2: Lakshmi's petty shop

Lakshmi's Petty shop 35 year old Lakshmi is a beneficiary at our new slum, Edgha Mohalla. Her husband Govindraju works as a labourer. She has four children, the eldest is married and the other three go to school. For five years Lakshmi ran a small petty shop but had to shut it down when she spent all her savings to ensure her daughter had a wedding she could be proud of.

Case study 3: Gomathi from housewife to a viable micro-entrepreneur

Gomathi is a beneficiary of our Urban Ultra Poor Program from Sadaramangala in Bangalore. Her husband Mr. Karunakaran is working as a labourer. She has three children; one boy and two girls. Gomathi had never worked in her life. All that she knew was to do the household work and look after her children.

Every time the Parinaam team enquired about her livelihood, she would sit silently without knowing what to do or say. Later she came up with the idea that starting a "fancy shop" would be a great success since there is no such shop in the area and people from outside come on Sundays and holidays to sell fancy items in the area.

However we were hesitant about helping Gomathi financially to start this business as she had never worked and earned a living before. We took our time to do extensive research on the business just to see if the enthusiasm Gomathi had was sincere. Gomathi never gave up. She kept asking our community worker week after week to help her start this business.

Our community worker then took her to the wholesale market and found out the costs from several shops for all the items that she wanted to sell in her shop. During the investigation we do to ensure our beneficiaries are ready to start a business, Gomathi answered all the questions correctly in regard to how she would tackle obstacles to ensure success. Gomathi found out the prices at which the others sell similar items in her area. The community worker also conducted confidential interviews with the local residents and asked their opinion about starting such business in the area. To our surprise all of them said that a "fancy shop" was very much required because they had to walk a long way to buy fancy items and they were very expensive.

Still hesitant, Parinaam didn't want to start this business with a huge investment but gave her a small amount so she could begin with the popular items that were easy to sell. This required Gomathi to go to the market more times in a week to ensure she had enough material to keep her going, which she did with great dedication.

As the business became fruitful and Gomathi proved more than capable, Parinaam added money to her investment. Gomathi also initially did not use her profit for household expenses but reinvested the same into the business to expand. She went from a housewife to selling items from a suitcase and now has a vending cart and earns and an average of Rs.4000/- per month.