MasterCard Pledges Support to SEWA’s Self-Reliant Women’s Program

 

 MasterCard Worldwide today, as a part of its commitment to economic empowerment for individuals, pledged US $50,000 to the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), an organization that helps women in India secure employment opportunities, empowering them to self-reliance with supportive services.

 
The financial aid will help fund the set-up of SEWA’s 7th Rural Urban Development Initiative (RUDI) Processing Centre at Bodeli, Gujarat. The proposed centre will benefit approximately 2000 farmers and 400 SEWA members.
 
The initiative supports and executes employment and entrepreneurship programs for women in the region, and provides access to sustainable livelihood. It helps ensure fair prices to the farmers for their produce and safeguards their interests from unscrupulous middlemen. Farmers could sell their agricultural produce to the processing centre and collect money for their goods immediately. The center will process the agricultural produce for cleaning, packaging, branding and coding. With this initiative, farmers could generate additional income of approximately 20% more than what they used to earn.
 
The program supported by MasterCard will create full-time employment opportunities for women in 100 adjoining villages and will ultimately cater to a catchment of 300 to 500 villages in Gujarat. SEWA members will provide necessary training to empower the centre’s workforce with essential skill sets for the needs and demands of the market.
As more women are trained to run the center, they will become entrepreneurs, retailing in the neighboring areas, thereby sustaining the business activities of the center. SEWA members are treated as entrepreneurs and would participate as shareholders in the trust. There will be at least 125 SEWA members working for the centre permanently.
Says Reema Nanavaty, Director for Economic and Rural Development, “RUDI is an initiative of SEWA that helps strengthen the village economy, provides fair returns to small women farmers and generates employment opportunity for the landless women in the villages. The partnership with MasterCard will help initiate and strengthen RUDI amongst our tribal sisters of SEWA.”
 
“At MasterCard, we strongly believe that by empowering women with financial skills and life skills, they will be able earn a livelihood, and help better the lives of their family and the community they live in,” said Mr. T.V. Seshadri, General Manager, South Asia and country president, India, MasterCard Worldwide. “We are pleased to be working with SEWA to secure employment opportunities for the less privileged women and build self reliance amongst them. We believe this endeavor for the less privileged women is an apt platform to trigger the process of all round progress,” he added.
The centre aims to generate funds and circulate it within the SEWA network, which will enhance the quality, capacity and efficiency of rural production. The RUDI centre initiative was piloted by SEWA in the Sabarkantha district of Gujarat. SEWA leverages its large-scale membership for nurturing local skilled businesswomen along the rural production value chain.
 
About MasterCard Worldwide
MasterCard (NYSE: MA) is a global payments and technology company. It operates the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities—such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances  - - easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Learn more at mastercard.com or follow us on Twitter @mastercardnews or join the conversation on The Heart of Commerce Blog

 

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