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South Asia Regional Update

Creating Opportunities in Rural India

One of the biggest challenges that India faces today is migration of labor from rural to urban areas. The main reason for this is lack of opportunity. It is estimated that over 60% of India’s population is involved in Agriculture and allied activities but this sector only contributes 18% towards India’s GDP. Even with progress in the country, progress in agricultural sector is very slow. In most parts of India, farmers are still using very traditional methods of farming and this results in low yield and also poor quality of produce, which in-turn results to lower income from farming. Due to this, more and more farmers are looking for opportunity elsewhere and more families are shifting to the cities.

Our partner Kolkata City Mission is dedicated to addressing this challenge. For over a decade, KCM has been serving tribal communities in Medinipur District of West Bengal. This year KCM has setup a tailoring center in the village, which is equipped to train 15 women at a time. They are expanding the center to finally function with 25 tailoring machines and are planning to train 100 tribal women this year to be trained tailors. They are also working to collect orders from schools for their uniforms, local clothing shops, night wear and backpack wholesalers for orders so that the tailoring training center can also function as a production center which can not only provide training to the local women but can also engage them and provide employment. Through this social enterprise, KCM hopes to engage at least 50 tribal women from local communities so that they will have an additional source of income to support their families and new opportunities of engagement will be available to the tribal communities of Midnapore.

PW Training Empowers a Pastor in Sri Lanka

Pastor Prem from Nuwara Eliya a hill station in Sri Lanka is a rural church planter with a small poultry business to generate income for his family and ministry.

Pastor Prem was part of the first cohort of 17 pastors from the Nuwara Eliya district who had applied for a grant from NCEASL to develop their small businesses. In November 2020 he completed a 5-session training based on the PW SME Curriculum. When brother Paramesh from NCEASL did a follow up visit in March 2021 to evaluate the impact of the training and the grant, Pastor Prem had this to say:

Learning proper budgeting has helped him in his home as well as in his business. One outcome is that it has helped him to budget and plan all business-related expenses as well as helped him to identify all the costs when pricing. In Addition, the lesson on the various components needed to measure the target profit has helped in calculating pricing accurately

Another impact is that by analyzing expenses and identifying essentials, Pastor Prem is managing just in time inventory of chicken feed and not wasting money on excess inventory as a result. Learning to budget and track expenses has helped him not only in his family and business but in his congregations as well, since he is now teaching his believers how to identify unnecessary or wasteful expenditure and how to eliminate them and convert them to savings.

Another key outcome is the knowledge that business is also a holy calling which has encouraged hm to pray for every aspect of his business. When the pastors’ fellowship meets, those who are in business gather to pray for each other’s businesses as well.

By receiving this training, Pastor Prem has been able to put the grant received to good use and he is now working towards achieving self-sufficiency and moving away from dependency on others for their income. By growing their own source of income, he is not only able to manage his family and ministry but is able to support some desperately poor families in his congregation as well.

This is an inspiring example of the PW Business Curriculum helping a LCI equip a church become self-sufficient and be a role model for his congregation and the wider community as well.