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India – Mumbai: 360° Women Empowerment

Our Group continues to invest in education and vocational training opportunities for Indian women in socially marginalized situations, seeing economic independence as the first step in steering the discussion on gender equality. Working with the local NGO CORP, for the fifth year running our Group has promoted the active participation of women living in Mumbai’s slums in the economic life of their communities, through vocational courses capable of generating quality employment and micro-enterprises (tailoring, beauty parlours, training programmes, computer literacy and income generation). The project, launched in 2015, has involved around 1,000 women and their children each year, in 7 centers of the most disadvantaged districts of the Mumbai metropolitan area. In addition to providing basic professional knowledge through training opportunities, the programme also aims to connect the women involved through a network where they feel valued and supported. Full-time support services for childcare are available at the training centers, as well as study help and monthly health monitoring. By being able to contribute to the family’s economic livelihood, women also gain more influence over spending decisions and choices related to their children’s education. In this more balanced family set-up, the message of parents as equal role models also becomes crucial, a model that sons, and especially daughters, absorb and replicate. Finally, there is also positive impact in terms of circularity. In terms of production, CORP focuses on tailoring activities (both in relation to training and to the generation of income through the sale of finished products), recovering fabric from used saris, which then becomes the raw material for making accessories and new original garments. The waste from the processing of used saris is in turn recovered and donated to other operators, thereby launching a zero-waste circle and further economic use of waste materials. This is a pragmatic and integrated socio-economic approach, thanks to which the Maire Tecnimont Group gives substance to actions aimed at achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Women Empowerment Principles.

In 2020, due to the spread of Covid-19 and the particular fragility of communities living in Mumbai’s slums (mainly day labourers in precarious housing conditions), the women empowerment project continued at a slower pace and as far as possible in virtual form, with no face-to-face classes for both women and children, to allow for health risk awareness sessions and offer solid support to families most affected by the pandemic. Once again, the Maire Tecnimont Group has taken on board emerging needs and responded proactively, looking to the long term without forgetting the everyday life of communities and the need to support their resilience and capacity to react.

Listen from the voice of the women how this project changed their lives: Step Up And Make The Future Happen - YouTube