Tired of Unemployment, Kashmiri Women Decide to Open Their Online Business

JUN 13, 2018 — The campaign for self-determination in Indian-administered Kashmir broke out into major violence in 1989. More than 90,000 people are estimated to have died and 20,000 to have disappeared in the disputed Himalayan region. That has pushed their families into poverty.

Today, Kashmir lies in the bottom third of Indian states on the basis of per capita income, the education and health systems are also falling to an ever lower standard.

For the region’s youth, earning a living has been a challenge, especially educated young women.

However, one group of young entrepreneurs is taking matters into their own hands. Two of them are female entrepreneurs Beenish and Omaira.

Yusuf Jameel of VOA News has more in this video report.

The women are also organizing themselves in self-help groups and learning how they can achieve financial independence – a completely new model for occupied Kashmir.

Women are organizing themselves

Through courses, women are learning reading, writing and arithmetic. In addition, they are discovering how credit savings groups can help them: The aim of the groups is to save capital together so that its members can borrow small credit at a reasonable rate of interest. Women are thereby in the position, for example, to open a small shop, to set themselves up as a self-employed carpet weaver or to grow and sell vegetables.

They use their profits to pay back the credit to the group or pay off other debts. And naturally, their income flows into the livelihood of their families, which they could scarcely raise before. Particularly, if someone was ill or other extraordinary outgoings were needed. It is not just women, however, who are benefiting from the project. Around 1,000 young people, 100 members of local community councils and 250 members of village development committees are also included.

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