Skilling Women

In a show of solidarity towards women, especially rural women, UPES has started a project called Rural Women Technology Park, which is supported by the Government of India's Department of Science and Technology. This project aims to achieve rural women empowerment through (1) paper recycling (2) ICT-assisted art and craft design and (3) identification and cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants in Dehradun's Sahaspur district. 45 rural women were chosen from 15 project villages and they were taught how to make high-quality goods like pencils, jewelry and stationary items using waste paper.

Under the second component, expert artisans from ICT laboratory supervised 115 rural women and helped them make arts and crafts items. The laboratory also provided them with 10 computers with installed design software and internet to assist their work. This was done with the aim to empower them to be able to generate incomes for themselves. Raw material like bamboo, jute, date leaves, etc., was abundantly made available to the women, who made artefacts such as baskets, hand fans, and casseroles and eco-friendly office items like dustbins, pen holders, trays, visiting card holders, flower pots, jute folders, bags, etc.

Under the third component, rural women were taught how to cultivate chamomile, tulsi, aswagandha, sarpagandha, lemon grass, aloe vera and kaliyari; they were made aware towards promotion and usefulness of medicinal and aromatic plants. They were trained in how to make their marginal and small agricultural holdings more profitable. The rural women were grouped into self-help groups, taught the basics of entrepreneurship and empowered through training and participation in income-generating activities. One of the aims of this was to develop sustainability by increasing green stretches in the project area. The project also helped show that agriculture can be more profitable through cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants.

In this manner, this Rural Women Technology Park, an initiative of UPES, has helped many rural women find employment, sustain themselves, understand sustainable agriculture practices, and thereby contribute to their families and communities. Many new facets are being added to this project from time to time to further empower rural women.