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Humming Box: empowering the displaced in Chennai

A product of the labours of a Perumbakkam-based SHG

Until a year ago, Nancy Kalaiarasan was a housewife whose family was relocated to Perumbakkam from Thideer Nagar. Now she and 14 others have formed a jewellery-making self-help group (SHG) and are marketing their products under the brand name ‘Humming Box’.

In a bid to provide employment to women in resettlement colonies, the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) has formed various SHGs and has been conducting skill development programmes. This jewellery-making SHG operates from one of the houses in the Perumbakkam tenements and the members meet twice a week to make jewellery. “After I was shifted here, I attended a 20-day jewellery-making workshop organised by the TNSCB. This empowered me to a great extent,” Ms. Nancy explained.

She then trained 14 other women in her locality. “Some of the members are housewives and some are widows. We make the jewellery with raw materials procured with the help of TNSCB. We keep track of the latest jewellery designs through magazines and the internet,” Ms. Nancy said.

Marketing needed

They have been selling their products at rock-bottom prices. “As of now we are able to earn Rs. 3,000 per head every month. But if we are able to set up more stalls in multiplexes, colleges or if cine artistes purchase our jewellery, we can earn well and support more women,” she added. Catherine Monisha Felix, an advocate, has been supporting the group by purchasing their products and helping them set up stalls. “They are skilled and purchasing their products will be a big encouragement and it will boost their confidence,” she said.

Though skilled, marketing their products is a major challenge. “With the brand name Humming Box we are planning to set up stalls in different parts of the city. On December 1, we are setting up one in TCS and soon we plan to go online,” said Ms. Catherine.

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