Saras Aajeevika Srinagar | Umeed Scheme Empowers Women in J&K | SHGs Transforming Lives We have a business of dry fruits which we are running through UMEED scheme which is a government scheme, said a female from Kashmir. This helps us a lot. And I think this is a good step towards empowering females, she said at Sara Mela Aajeevika. Many females have come from different states. I associated with Umeed last month. I had a lot of passion towards business. I was not getting a platform. Through a friend of mine I heard about Umeed and I then joined it. Another female from Jammu & Kashmir said how like most females she also was afraid of going out. Her family members also said there is no point going outside and to sit at home and do household work. But when we went out we found out that it feels good and we can learn somethings. Now after associating with Umeed scheme we can say to our sisters and mothers to come out of the house to learn and experience many things in life. After joining Umeed we got a lot of benefits, voiced another female from J&K. We are 14 members of the Self Help Group and all members are earning well by the grace of Allah. We have shawls, suits, bags, dupattas, and a lot many varieties with us to sell. A Self Help Group is made of 10 members. Earlier, females used to stay at home and they could not do any work. They just visited each other’s homes where they used to sit and not do anything, explained another female. We were not allowed to go outside. Our family members told us not to go out. When we joined Self Help Groups, we got so much courage and we got to see the world outside our homes. Each of us group members donate Rs 100 to create fund. Then we approach the government which gives us revolving fund. It also gives us loans. We got associated with Umeed scheme in 2016 since then we have taken loan so many times. We also get money when we cannot pay off loans, informed the SHG member. The housewives were not able to reach even their Block till yesterday. But with the help of government scheme of NRLM we got an opportunity through Umeed scheme to come this far, said another female describing the condition of women earlier. It is a big deal to move from one state to another. When we were coming here people said, the environment of Jammu and Kashmir is not good. But we find the people here in J&K are very nice. The ladies help each other and cooperate, said an SHG coming from another state at the Saras Aajeevika mela. I am a Block Coordinator. I am a staff of SHG member and have come to assist them. I have been working for a year. In my experience, I have seen the lives of women changing after joining Umeed. Earlier they used to sit at home and did not know what to do and what not to do. After coming here, they have learned how to increase their income for their livelihood. I have seen them getting benefitted. Now they are making their own products and selling those products. This is the encouragement they get from this environment, said the Umeed staff.