Maharashra State Minority Commission (MSMC) plans to launch new scheme, whereby it would empower Muslim women and make them economically independent
Nineteen-year-old Aasiya Begum is awed by every working woman who passes by her chawl situated at Wadala. Begum, a school dropout and a mother of two, dreams of being financially independent someday, somehow. “Even if I had the right qualifications, I don’t think my husband would approve if I got a job,” she said. With downcast eyes, she added, “I have a family to look after.”
The teenager’s dream might just come true if the Maharashra State Minority Commission (MSMC) has its way. The MSMC plans to launch a scheme by December, whereby it would empower Muslim women and make them economically independent. “We will train them in income-generating skills. We also plan to teach them tailoring, especially how to make skull caps, and cooking, among other things,” said Kamran Sultan, officer on special duty, MSMC.
After conducting a survey, the MSMC found that a majority of Muslim girls dropped out from school. According to sources, about 30 per cent dropped out after SSC, 50 per cent after HSC and hardly 20 per cent enrolled for graduation.
“MSMC’s scheme will enable these women to work part time. This way, their domestic chores won’t be hampered,” said Sultan. About 200 self-help groups with 50 members each will be trained for three months across Mumbai in places like Byculla, Kurla, Behrampada, Jogeshwari and Mira Road to help in this endeavour.
On the face of it, women laud the scheme and cheer about an opportunity to earn a quick buck. “The empowerment of women is the need of the hour for the community. It will go a long way in facilitating progress,” said Shabana Kharadi, who runs a centre in Kurla for despondent women. Rehana Sheikh, a homemaker residing at Masjid Bunder, couldn’t agree more. “If I can earn money without putting aside my daily chores, it would be perfect. I want my children to have better lives,” said Sheikh.