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Women entrepreneurs redefining success in Kashmir

Srinagar: In the valley of Kashmir, where violence often overshadows untold stories, resilient women entrepreneurs are carving their path to success.

These women are rewriting the narrative by blending tradition with innovation in the male dominated society.

Aisha, a graduate from University of Kashmir, decided to transform her passion into a thriving business. Soon after completing studies, Aisha understood that getting a decent job in both government and private sector in Kashmir was a Herculean task.

With limited resources in hand, she set up her own venture to generate employment not only for herself but for others as well. In 2021, Aisha set up a boutique on the outskirts of Srinagar. “The initial period was tough as due to Covid-19, there were not enough customers. It was my family who supported me to navigate the tough period,” she told DH.

Come 2022, her businesses in Kashmir started thriving. “Now, I have six designers working in my boutique. From stylish pherans (traditional long gown) to beautiful dresses, we cater to a large number of customers in Srinagar,” she said.

In another corner of Kashmir, Sakina is breaking barriers in the farming sector. She navigates the challenges of a male-dominated field with grace and determination. Sakina’s success is not only a testament to her dedication but also an inspiration for aspiring young women in the region to pursue careers in the farming sector.

Official figures reveal that in the last four years 20,691 women owned enterprises have come up across Jammu and Kashmir under the Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP). In the first 11 months of this year, 3901 enterprises owned by women have come up in the Union Territory.

These women are not merely building businesses; they are constructing a legacy of resilience and empowerment. Their stories resonate beyond Kashmir, inspiring a new generation to dream beyond boundaries. As their enterprises flourish, so does the hope that Kashmir’s economic landscape will continue to be shaped by the ingenuity and determination of its remarkable women.

An official of the Industries and Commerce department said that several schemes were functioning, which assist women to set up their ventures. “Women empowerment schemes like Hausla, Tejaswani etc are proving a game changer for women. Educated women get subsidies and loans via these schemes to set up their own businesses,” he said.

(Published 17 December 2023, 09:06 IST)

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