Feature Stories

Empowering Women in India to Secure Their Own Livelihoods

Women observing a demonstration as part of the beauty therapy course offered by Sembcorp Entrepreneurship Development Centre

Ms Shyamala, 31, is a mother of two. She wants to give her children the best she can and hopes that a good education will help them find well-paying jobs in the future. Up until recently, those dreams seemed a distant reality as she struggled to put food on the table for her family. To make ends meet, she did odd jobs in the agricultural fields near her village, earning less than INR3,000 (S$57) a month.

Last year, she enrolled in a free three-month training programme offered by the Sembcorp Entrepreneurship Development Centre (SEDC) to become a certified beautician. The Centre is a community initiative by Sembcorp Energy India Limited, which has been investing in education and healthcare related programmes to support communities across India since 2012.

Established in 2018, SEDC provides training and development courses to women and youth in the surrounding villages of Nellore, Andhra Pradesh. It aims to reduce high unemployment rates among these target groups, especially young mothers.

Since its establishment, SEDC has trained over 450 women and youth. Of the five courses on offer, tailoring and beauty therapy have proven to be the most popular and account for over 70% of enrolment. A significant number of participants who completed the training and received certification from SEDC have been able to improve their livelihood with their newly acquired skills.

Since graduating from the programme, Ms Shyamala now runs a small cosmetics and beauty parlour in her village of Varkaipudi. Her income has more than doubled compared to what she earned in the fields. “I never imagined that as a housewife, I would be able support my children’s education with my own earnings,” she said. “With more income, I am now much more confident about our future.”

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