P R O W E S S SHG - SJSRY (Program for Women's Empowerment and Self Sustenance) is a Self Help Group of 16 seamstresses from Kodaikanal, a small town located in Tamil Nadu.

Upholding the mandate of the Central Government National Commission for Women, PROWESS SHG promotes the empowerment of women especially those who have been abused, are handicaped, or single mothers. PROWESS SHG provides a safe place where women come, share their lives and learn various handicrafts through peer help. It is a place where they teach one another, learn a skill and earn a living.\


The women are given basic training according to their talents and the market needs, giving them a chance to take charge of their lives. After a period of probation, the trainees become participants of PROWESS SHG where they can earn an income thanks to their newly acquired skills. Their earnings are based on piece-rate, which is determined by all the participants . Piece-rate gives them control over their working hours, allowing them to work part-time or from home while caring for their families. Besides, the piece-rate system gives women an opportunity for self-appraisal.

The PROWESS SHG participants produce different handmade objects for the Indian and overseas market such as soft-toys, quilts, home-furnishings, accessories, and clothing. Most of the designs have been developed in-house and are best sellers. They are sold in their workshop or shipped to their clients inside or outside of India.


The Ladies of Prowess

From time to time, volunteers in the Community teach the participants about consumer needs and how to market products, health, women's issues and rights, computer skills, design etc. 

The participants have implemented several savings schemes and old age pension plans in addition to self-financed health insurance.