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Paper Bag Training cum Production Center

Loss of Livelihood constitutes the most critical after effects of any calamities, paralyzing the personal and social recovery process. Thus, recovery and restoration of livelihood support systems assumes significant importance during any humanitarian crisis. The poverty-disaster cycle is linked to the livelihood systems of people and livelihood support promotion not only restores normal pre-disaster lifestyles of affected people but also acts a strong preparedness measures to meet any eventual exigencies to life. Currently, in addition to providing strategic support to livelihood programs of humanitarian agencies, ADHAR is also directly implementing one livelihood project in urban set up, working with the internally displaced women in Kolkata, who were affected during the Tolly Nullah evacuation drive. The project aims to provide sustainable income opportunities for women through training and post training production support in design and manufacturing of eco friendly recycled products.


Project Title:  


An innovative Income Generation Scheme for employment generation of urban poor and destitute women from the slums ofCalcutta 

Project Goal: 

To improve the earning capacity of women through an innovative self-employment process, thereby ensuring better economic and social status for the beneficiary families. The project, through its innovative production of newspaper and handmade paper bags, will ensure: 

*     Regular Income for the women beneficiaries

  • Regular income for the women beneficiaries
  • Improved social and economic status of the beneficiary families 
  • Reduction in use of the hazardous plastic bags and recycle of news paper 
  • Specific objectives of the Project 
  • To train women in production of paper Items, provide assistance in centralized production so as to ensure compulsory earning for beneficiary women
  •  Initiate compulsory savings among women who are engaged in the project 
  • Ensure higher leadership and bargaining capacity among women through social education and management inputs 



All the selected beneficiaries for the first batch of training are from theCalcuttaslumps. Of the 20 women selected for the first batch, nine women are from families who are victims of Tolly-Nullah eviction drive inCalcutta, when hundreds of families were forcefully evicted out of their dwelling units along the Tolly-canal for construction of the proposed metro railway commuting system in the city. The families lost their homes, their livelihood and were provided no support whatsoever by the government. All the women belong to poor families with income range of Rs. 800/- to Rs. 1400/- a month leading a hand to mouth subsistence. 


Training Phase 

The project started with training of eight women in October 2005 and again in December 2006, 12 more women were added to the training. The women undergo a systematic three months training after which the organization provides them with working capital assistance for production purpose. During training, the women are exposed to designing, cutting, fabrication and finishing of goods through both classroom as well as practical learning. Women are asked to work with newspaper bags in the beginning and slowly graduate to costly handmade paper bags and value added products like jewel box, folders, lamp shades, photo stand etc. They are regularly evaluated during the training phase. There are regular tests to check their geometric and measurement skills. At the end of the training phase, they are underwent self and participatory evaluation. 

Production phase 


Four women entered the production phase in January 2006 and 12 more were added into the post training production phase in March 2007. The organization extends marketing support to the efforts of women and a marketing team has been appointed. The sales of products are gradually increasing from Rs. 1300 in March 2006, Rs. 4,700 in October 2006, Rs. 6,500 in December 2006, Rs. 12,000 in January 2007, Rs. 17,000 in February 2007 and Rs. 21,500 in March 2007. 


Personnel Development 


In addition to earning, the aim of ADHAR is to develop the beneficiaries into confident women with dignity and self respect. Thus, twice a month, experts from various fields comes to the workshop and takes classes on a number of subjects ranging from personal hygiene to socio legal rights and accounting to group dynamics. The beneficiaries who have proven their technical and managerial abilities are deputed to other NGOs and areas to train other women. In January 2006, ADHAR provided training to 10 mentally challenged women under another NGO inHowrahdistrict In February 2006.


Benefits to women 

During the same period, women were given Rs. 400 as training stipend and after training period; they started receiving Rs. 800 as honorarium. Corresponding to increase in sales and based on evaluation, as of now, 9 women are receiving Rs. 900 per month, two are receiving Rs. 1100 per month, one is receiving Rs. 1200 per month and another Rs. 1300 per month. Two women were promoted as Group Leaders based on their overall technical and managerial capabilities. Other women are guided and supervised by the group leaders. 


Marketing Linkages 


Currently, the products are being marketed inCalcuttaby the marketing team under a young and able marketing executive. Since there is huge overseas demand for eco friendly products, the unit is looking for export opportunities to market their products wider, bring better returns to women and helping in sustainability of the project. The products made by the women in the unit are well accepted by the market inCalcuttaand is known for its design and quality. Market response is on the rise and ADHAR wishes to make those women lead a dignified life with at least a basic security.