In November 2021, Child Rights Foundation (CRF) and Buzzwomen together hosted a financial literacy programme for women from marginalised communities in Bengaluru. The training programme was attended by women from Shantinagar burial ground and Neelsandra, an urban slum colony in Bengaluru. Through the training programme, CRF and Buzzwomen aimed to provide financial awareness to these women mainly by teaching them the basics of financial management. Most of the women who attended the programme faced many challenges with regard to creating consistent earnings and managing their finances. Through CRF, #COVIDActionCollab (CAC) aims to focus on providing capacity support and individual enterprise diagnosis to address these challenges. The training was followed by monthly meetings which were attended by these women and they discussed their concerns related to their work during these meetings. Shashikala, who was one of the participants of the programme said that she made a profit of INR 800 from her fancy shop venture by adding imitation gold jewellery items to the existing items. However, her venture faces competition from nearby shops which sell their products at a lower price. From the session, she understood that instead of imitation jewellery, adding gift items would help her make better profits.
With the help of Ajaya, another participant, Shashikala is also trying to reach more people to sell nighties. During a meeting, it was discussed that she adds more products (such as kidswear) that people are interested in buying. Deepa sells flower garlands by procuring flowers from the city market and making them. She works for 4-5 hours every day and makes a profit of INR 75 to INR 100 per day. The challenge she faces is that on rainy days, travelling is difficult for her. Shyamala, who provides a tiffin service at a PG, makes a profit of INR 3,000 per month. These meals are provided at INR 60 per day, however, with an increase in fuel prices and other essential items, her profit margin went down. In order to solve this, she has been advised to increase the price of the tiffin to INR 70 per month so that the margins are not affected. Ajaya, who works as domestic help, sells tops and leggings in her neighbourhood after procuring them from Chickpet. She is also planning to expand her business through the online shopping platform, Meesho. Currently, she makes a profit of INR 1,000 per month on average. She intends to make use of her network to publicise her business. Kavitha, another participant, procures kurtas from Chennai through her contact in Banashankari. She receives orders for the products through WhatsApp, uses the platform to promote her business and makes a profit of INR 2,000 – INR 2,500 per month. The suggestions discussed during the session included creating a group of regular customers and offering them discounts to encourage them to bring in more customers. Shalini, a pushcart fruit vendor, plans to expand her sales to the neighbourhood. However, she is in need of a pushcart, which is worth INR 3,500. CRF is willing to provide financial support in the form of a returnable grant. For many women, receiving financial literacy training is empowering and allows them to be financially independent. Through #COVIDActionCollab’s partnership with Buzzwomen, financial literacy training has become accessible to many women from marginalised communities, allowing them to engage in work that made them financially independent and resilient.