US Consul General visits USAID project sites in Madurai

Consul General of the United States in Chennai, Judith Ravin paid a visit to Madurai on Tuesday to interact with the women micro-entrepreneurs supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Producer Owned Women Enterprises Project (POWER).

The project of the USAID is aimed at creating employment opportunities and empowering women from marginalized sections of society.

The USAID ‘POWER’ project started operations in 2019 and is aimed at empowering women from rural communities to become micro-entrepreneurs and help them shift work closer to their homes. This would also provide them with a regular source of income. The USAID has teamed up with Industree Crafts Foundation (ICF) and the program works in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Odisha.

In a statement on Tuesday, the US Consulate in Chennai said that this project has led women to get more income and said that women entrepreneurs from Tamil Nadu have sold products worth more than $90,0000 to retailers such as IKEA.

US Consul General Judith Ravin during her visit to Madurai said, “It is wonderful to visit and meet with local women today and to hear how this project is transforming their lives. The POWER project is a great example of the strong commitment the US Government has made to advance women’s economic empowerment in India and I hope to see many more women owned and operated businesses in Tamil Nadu and throughout India.”

Neelam Chabber, Co-founder Industree Craft Foundation said, “We are very proud of the work undertaken here. The POWER project helps establish 12 women owned enterprises, directly impacting the lives of 2,400 women and their families, and is aiming to reach a goal of 3,600 by 2022. The women producers, mostly from marginalized communities were either labourers or doing small, odd jobs that did not contribute much to their household income before becoming micro-entrepreneurs. The support received from US aid has helped bring about remarkable transformation.”

The US Consul General had on Monday visited a USAID-supported WASH institute at the sanitation park in Reddiyarchathram, which is aimed at increasing the number of skilled professionals in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) sector. The sanitation park established in 2018 serves as a training site to expose students, sanitation and health workers, and sanitation technicians to new technologies and practical approaches for safe sanitation services.

US Consul general Judith Ravin was accompanied by Tamil Nadu state Finance minister, PTR Palanivel Thiagarajan who is also the legislator from Madurai.

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