On the occasion of Women's History Month 2021, JPF launched a MUKTI Campaign to empower 100 women in India through 2 high-impact Projects
Health Improvement Program
The initiative to improve the respiratory health of women in the handmade cigarette rolling industry.
The initiative to improve the respiratory health of women in the handmade cigarette rolling industry began in Solapur in October 2020. It focused on teaching and practicing Pranayama (cardiac coherence breathing) to women constantly exposed to unburned tobacco. This program has been a successful initiative in preventive health care.
The number of women attending this program has gone up from 102 to 150 within a span of one year. We gladly share that the program is now run at 15 locations with the addition of 8 new locations in 2021. This program has created health awareness among many families in this region. This program is also becoming a powerhouse to initiate and develop the next leaders and start many other important initiatives such as micro-financing groups and skill development workshops in Solapur.
Freeing women and their families from the clutches of the hazardous tobacco industry by providing an alternative sustainable employment
Solapur in Maharashtra state in India is a hub of the handmade cigarette rolling industry. Workers in this industry are primarily women and face severe health issues due to continuous tobacco exposure. The business is also facing threats from competition and automation in the industry resulting in unemployment. Rolling 1,500 cigarettes a day provides workers merely $2 a day while also exposing them and their families to tobacco as the work is carried out at their homes. As a solution to this issue, Jnana Prabodhini Solapur started creating opportunities for alternate employment, by launching this initiative in 2020 during COVID. This initiative provides alternative sustainable employment in the form of cloth and paper bag-making. Currently, the focus of the initiative is to provide livelihood from a non-hazardous working environment and match the income from cigarette rolling. To support this initiative, JPF launched Campaign Mukti to liberate cigarette-rolling women from this hazardous work. Now, 30 women craft paper and cloth bags instead.