As the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) cooperative federation celebrates its silver jubilee it is also gearing up to take on new challenges and help the women’s co-operative initiative gain inroads into what is till now considered unconventional jobs for women.Speaking about the challenges, Chairman, Mirai Chatterjee said that the federation’s vision was to scale up and support co-operatives to achieve financial sustainability. “We need to look into employment opportunties beyond the conventional ones like maids and cooks for our members. We need to look at BPO services, women drivers and security guards etc to provide employment ot our members through the co-operative model,” said Chatterjee. SEWA is a national unit of 1.5 million informal workers in 14 states.They later set up various cooperatives, the first SEWA-promoted production cooperative was started in 1977.They also set up the Gujarat State Women’s SEWA Cooperative Federation Limited (Federation) in 1992 with an aim to provide economic empowerment and full employment to its members.The federation now provides training programmes, help develop business plans for its members, assist in audits for various co-operatives, marketing products or services of member cooperatives etc. Elaben Bhatt, Founder of SEWA and Cooperative Federation said that the three primary services-finance, health and education – should be provided locally in a financially and environmentally sustainable manner, led by women.
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SEWA co-op fed to expand into unconventional domains