For the first time in over 20 years, global poverty has risen due to the COVID-19 pandemic combining with the effects of conflict and climate change. By the end of this year, it’s expected that 150 million people will have been pushed into poverty as a result of these factors.
The harshest impact will be felt by already marginalised people. That’s why it’s so crucial to make sure the voices of vulnerable people are heard. Frequently, some of the most vulnerable people in a community are women. GMP always wants to be listening to all these voices.
Jayshree is a young woman who lives in the slums of Ambernath in suburban Mumbai, India. Her husband works as a day labourer in the chemical industry. Like many others in India, her family has been struggling during the pandemic.
"My husband is the earning member of our family," Jayshree tells us. "Since the outbreak of the pandemic last year, my husband finds it difficult to get work every day. This has started to affect our financial condition." The lockdown regulations closed the chemical industry. Jayshree's husband was one of many labourers who lost their source of income. For more than a year, Jayshree's husband has been unable to get work. It’s expected that middle-income countries like India will be home to more than 80% of those pushed into poverty this year.
Many people in the Ambernath slums, including Jayshree, haven’t had access to the training or education needed to secure skilled employment. Project surveys have shown a high demand for skilled workers like tailors, but there are few training opportunities to develop these skills. That’s why Hosanna Ministries is providing people in Ambernath with vocational training to give them more employment opportunities.
Smita Gaikwad is the Project Coordinator for the Saksham Vocational Training Centre, run by Hosanna Ministries. She shared with us about the tailoring program that ran during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The girls come for the tailoring course; it’s all crowded,” Smita says. “So, we asked the teachers to just do four or five girls in each [class], so they are doing a good job and things are starting to get normal. Not certainly like it was before, but slowly we have started to give them basic tailoring courses.”
“Because of the outbreak of COVID-19, house visits and meetings have been affected. We try to meet on Zoom with the participants once a month. We also regularly communicate through phone calls.”
When it was safe to do so, Jayshree was able to join the tailoring course at Saksham Vocational Training Centre! Fifteen women took part in the course and completed it with near perfect attendance. When they were finished, they had new skills they could use to work from home.
“I have now completed the basic course and am able to stitch ladies’ clothes from home,” Jayshree says. “This has given me a new skill, and confidence, as I am able to support my family financially as well.”
This tailoring course has helped Jayshree keep her family from falling deeper into poverty. It has enabled her to earn an income and take care of her husband and child. Because of people like you supporting the Saksham Vocational Training Centre, Jayshree’s future is full of hope.
Your offering this Christmas can give another young woman like Jayshree vocational training. A young woman who wants to learn and equip herself but hasn’t been given the chance. Your ongoing partnership will ensure that our life-changing work can continue helping vulnerable women like Jayshree fight against inequality and poverty.