Focus: Empowering women to realise their potential and be financially independent
UTKARSH began in 1998 as a continuation of SMILE’s efforts under UDAAN. It arose from the realization that mothers from the underprivileged sections often play a dual role in their child’s lives. They have to manage the house with limited finances and yet aspire to give their children a good education. They needed to be empowered, and supportive of the project too.
Thus UTKARSH took shape, reaching out first to mothers of children who were in UDAAN and then broadening to include other women in their localities. The project aims to empower these women so that they can stand on their own feet and become financially independent.
Most of these women are highly resourceful and have rich experience of life, though they mostly remain confined within their homes. They needed to be groomed well, to be helped to understand their true potential and talent, and be given much needed confidence.
UTKARSH aims to achieve this through a mix of educational, healthcare and income initiatives and empower them through education about their rights and the opportunities that are available. Talks by experts, competitions and entertainment programmes are some of the methods through which they develop their personalities and gain confidence.
A special Income Generation Program has also been devised to impart skills they can quickly master and apply so as to generate a sustainable income. Besides supplying nutritious food packets to children, they also undertake outside orders as well as activities like making candles, soaps, perfumes, paper bags and diyas, mehendi, baking and many more. SMILE takes part in various exhibitions through the year to help showcase the talents of Over the years, SMILE has helped hundreds of women develop their confidence, talents, leadership skills and overall personalities, which in turn, has helped them to achieve financial independence and play a greater role in the development of their children.