IVillage is not just a social enterprise, it is a powerful idea that links the village to the global market. It endeavors to create employment and generate livelihood for the rural population with a focus on women, in and around Uttar Pradesh (U.P.), India. The objective of IVillage is to train, upskill and employ rural youth and homemakers in various aspects of creating quality products and services and taking them from the village to the world.
IVillage is working towards a progressive mission of creating 500+ job opportunities in interior parts of U.P. by 2023. The company envisions prosperous and self-sustaining villages via local skills and opportunity development.
EDUCATING AND EMPOWERING RURAL GIRLS AND WOMEN FOR A SOCIALLY AND ECONOMICALLY EMPOWERED RURAL SOCIETY.
In Hindi, Pardada Pardadi means “great-grandparents.” An integral part of ancient Indian wisdom revolves around family; the value-based knowledge and education a child receives from an invested community is a crucial component of her successful transformation into an empowered adult…
To establish and grow a Social enterprise for women empowerment in India that offers high-quality products and services and contributes to the general upliftment of society, specifically by generating employment for rural women and empowering them through social and financial independence.
To employ 500 women by end of 2023. To empower women through education and employability, and enable them to be self-sustainable.
CHANGING THE SOCIETY,
ONE LIFE AT A TIME
We are proud to be the initiators of a social revolution in our areas of operation. By empowering rural women towards financial independence, we have been able to make a positive change to their lives. Here is one of the many stories of the lives we’ve helped change for the better.
The Inspiring Stories and Thoughts of IVillagers
“I was always a bright student, particularly passionate about the field of law, which I wanted to pursue for my higher studies. However, being from an orthodox Indian mindset, my father believed that educating me further would decrease my chances of getting married- as men would be intimidated by the idea of having an educated wife!
Not having the courage to speak my heart, I succumbed to my family’s wishes, and started looking for a job to support my parents financially (there weren’t many job opportunities available for women in the village). As I started working for IVillage, I became financially independent. I worked hard for, and deserved, every penny that I earned. Being able to support myself independently brought a sense of confidence and pride – the confidence and self-love women probably weren’t allowed to experience.
This confidence helped me in gathering the courage to stand up to my father, and have a say in my own future. After countless days of presenting arguments and emotional appeals, I was finally able to convince my father, and explain to him the one simple fact, which I shouldn’t have to, that getting married isn’t my ultimate purpose in life, and I shouldn’t have to sacrifice my dreams and ambition in order to get a suitable husband!
Now I am a law student, juggling both work and studies, funding my own education with my own salary, and hoping to intimidate weak, chauvinistic men with my law degree! I wish to be a successful lawyer- and I measure my success not by the number of cases I win or income I earn, I measure it by the number of people I help.
Working here changed my life, it gave me the courage to follow my dreams, and not apologize to anyone for it.
“I am the child of a single mother, living with my siblings and maternal grandparents.
My father, an alcoholic was extremely abusive to my mother. My mother ran away from the marriage, regardless of the social pressure she was under, from those who believed women are meant to stick with their husbands, no matter how abusive the relationship. She came back home to live with her parents, along with us.
Now, she works at IVillage’s production unit along with me, although she mostly stays out of work due to her poor health. The responsibility of earning for the family rests on my shoulders, and I am proud to share that I handle it so well!
I am a sincere and hardworking employee, and it is amazing to have my seniors appreciate me and my work. My fellow employees, the girls at IVillage are my family- they are the ones I can always confide in, without the fear of being judged or pitied- because they understand the struggles of living in the patriarchal rural society, they have experienced it first-hand.
Although I love my work, and am super proud of myself for single-handedly earning for my entire family, I wish I could have had the chance to finish my education. I still hope that by some stroke of fate, some magic, I am able to finish my schooling, and achieve what I am capable of. Right now, I am trying to learn the English alphabet, by practicing what my colleagues have taught me.
My only wish is that the coming generations of girls in our village are allowed to get educated, and I hope they get to live the life they deserve and achieve what they want, not what they are told.
“I like to think of myself as a cheerful, bubbly, happy-go-lucky person, who helps others and loves what she does. I am a dreamer, and an achiever. I like watching movies, doing embroidery, and spending time with my friends. I love to laugh, and make new friends.
When I first came to IVillage, I was an amateur, and hadn’t mastered the skills of hand and machine embroidery. I worked very hard during my training- my seniors had shown faith in me, and I wanted to live up to their expectations. Now I am a professional, and a proud one at that! Working hard to earn a living for myself gives me a sense of pride and self-love.
I love to shop, but more than that I love paying for myself, I love being independent. From my first salary, I bought a suit for my mother, and lots of clothes for myself!
I have even saved enough to buy myself a Samsung Galaxy!
I use my phone to listen to music while I work, download and watch movies, click pictures, and watch videos with my friends!
I wish every girl in the village could be blessed with a free-thinking family like mine. I want everyone here to have a happy and positive lifestyle, untouched by social evils and parental pressures. And I want to contribute to bringing about this change!
My mother-in-law was recently diagnosed with cancer. Most of my husband’s income goes towards household expenses, and paying for our children’s education.
Because of my income, we are able to afford medicines for her which need to be bought everyday.
My parents spend their income on my brother’s education, which is why I haven’t been able to go to college. So I decided to earn and save up for my own college fee. Had I not been working at IVillage, I would have no chance at getting a higher education.
After getting a degree and some work experience in Delhi, I want to start a social initiative like IVillage on my own!
When I first heard about IVillage, my parents didn’t allow me to go to work. I managed to convince them, and have been working here for two years now! At home, I am very close to my mother, but scared of my father and brother, which is why I never talk to them. I had my first birthday celebration in IVillage, and I loved feeling special that day!
I am working here to be able to pay the fee of my computer coaching classes- it is my dream to work in an office on my laptop one day!
I studied up to tenth standard, and wasn’t able to continue my education due to health reasons. I used to be a housewife, but started working here because I used to get bored being alone at home. I have a deal with my husband- he pays for the education of our elder son, while I pay for our younger son, with the income I earn from IVillage.
This is the first time I have shared financial responsibility at home.
When I first started working here, I used to be a shy, under confident girl. My family discouraged me from going to work, and people would look at me and say “Nahi kar payegi.”
Now, after seven years of being associated with IVillage, I have become the supervisor, and grown into an assertive, confident woman. I even got to travel in an airplane, visit Bangalore, and go to the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium. Looking at how I have grown at work, my father now encourages my sister-in-law to work as well!
I like spoiling them with gifts every now and then. I have stopped taking any money from my family, and have considerable savings of my own. During my brother’s wedding, I loaned an amount of one lakh rupees to my father- this way, he wouldn’t have to pay someone else any interest. Being the one to pay for my brother’s wedding is a long stride from being considered a burden in the family because they thought they would have to pay for mine!
TESTIMONIALS BY OUR CLIENTS
Our oldest and wisest member, Shashi, is a confident, progressive woman. A single mother of three, she does not believe in gender roles and stereotypes, and earns a living for her family by herself. She is self-assured, financially independent, and smiles a lot! Shashi joined IVillage 16 years ago, originally part of the vocation centre at PPES and has learnt and developed a multitude of skills over the years. Working at IVillage gave her the