Project Thiramai to Empower Rural Women By Smile Foundation & Pepsico

Project Thiramai to Empower Rural Women By Smile Foundation & Pepsico:

Project Thiramai is an initiative by PepsiCo and Smile Foundation that has provided a vocational training in tailoring to underprivileged women across 12 villages in Tamil Nadu. There are 4 training centers set up in Mamandur, Nelvoy Road, Salavakkam and AP Chathiram. 235 women who graduated from this vocational training program were facilitated with certificates and free sewing machines in the convocation ceremony held on May 10, 2017, at Kancheepuram.

Project Thiramai came into being post floods that struck Chennai and its neighboring areas, leaving many villages in complete distress. The purpose of Thiramai is to equip disadvantaged women with skills through free vocational training, thereby improving their livelihood.Not just that, it also offers graduating students job placements at the business houses that are located around the area. The graduates, who are all women, also have the option of working from home, making it easier for them to maintain a work-life balance.

The program is for a period of three months and teaches women stitching of various garments for both ladies and children. Repair and management of the sewing machine is also included so they don’t have to rely on external help. The curriculum also pays attention to their alternative development. Yoga and meditation classes, awareness on obesity and eradication of poverty as well as awareness on nutrition has been made part of the curriculum making it extremely beneficial for their families too.

The convocation ceremony was presided over by Thiru MC Sampath, Hon’ble Minister for Industries and Thiru P Thangamani, Hon’ble Minister for Electricity, Excise & Prohibition, Government of Tamil Nadu.

Smile Foundation’s COO had a few words to share at the convocation: “It gives us great pleasure to see the positive impact that we have managed to create in Kancheepuram district through the community development program in association with PepsiCo Foundation. Rehabilitation work in the aftermath of the any natural calamity is critical to help communities regain their standing. The women who have chosen to attend the program have faced much diversity in their life. Many of them are physically challenged, and yet they have all come forward to empower themselves through the skill development program. We salute their spirit and congratulate our first batch of women graduates and wish them all the very best for their future.”

Ms. Poonam Kaul, Vice President CSR of PepsiCo India said, “We are proud of the brave women from Kancheepuram district who have chosen to be economically empowered. A key focus of PepsiCo Foundation’s community development and rehabilitation initiative with Smile Foundation was on livelihood enhancement for underprivileged families in villages around our manufacturing plant in Mamandur. This was a key development need expressed by the people in these villages, and so we looked at options to empower women in these families to support and improve livelihoods. There are several garment manufacturing units around this belt, but there was a dearth of skilled tailoring workforce in these villages. Project Thiramai provides the necessary tailoring skills to women to help them bridge that gap, opening up opportunities for them to take up employment at these factories or to work from their home as entrepreneurs, if they so choose.”

A community development and rehabilitation program was launched across 12 villages by PepsiCo and implemented by Smile Foundation,focusing on the health and livelihood of the people. Smile On Wheels mobile health vans, a School Health Programme and Project Thiramai for Women Empowerment through Vocational Training are the three programs undertaken by them.

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