ONergy Care – Fighting Covid-19 through women empowerment
Covid-19 has not only caused a health crisis, but also a financial crisis with the poor and vulnerable hit hard. During the lockdown, an estimated 140 million people in India lost employment. The Indian GDP shrunk by 24 per cent. The nationwide lockdown caused immense distress with millions of migrant workers walking across India to their native places. Women from low-income families are the most vulnerable: In addition to its economic impact, Covid-19 led to a significant increase in domestic violence.
Empowering women, protecting communities
ONergy Care is countering this crisis by empowering women to produce protective clothing such as masks, face shields, PPE kits and safety goggles. It has trained and engaged more than 5,000 women and sold more than 1.5 million Covid care products at an ultra-affordable price point. Women have helped to more than double their family incomes and have become a driving force in their families. ONergy provides end to end support from raw material procurement to assuring buyback on material.
Here is the story of Hemlata Biswas from Hoogly. During the lockdown, her family had no source of income. Her husband was a cycle rickshaw puller, and the family lost all their savings. After the training, her confidence grew manifolds. Hemlata now earns over Rs 400 per day (USD 6/day) by producing masks and face shields. She not only supports her entire family, but also takes pride in the recognition she gets from her community.
What is ONergy Care, and how does it work?
ONergy, a social enterprise from India promoting rural energy access, quickly pivoted from its existing work to start the Care division in April 2020. From promoting solar sewing machines to women, we quickly ramped up activities to engage and train women and make a range of Covid care products.
In addition to its regular institutional customer network, ONergy Care has started sales through various online platforms. Even post Covid-19, we expect continued demand from hospitals and PPE kit manufacturers and will add relevant products. This idea has been supported by the Government of West Bengal, India. The products prepared by the women are CE certified and have received other quality certifications. ONergy aims to create a wider impact by engaging more than 10,000 women from low-income families and producing over 10 million Covid care products.
Together, let us safeguard citizens and secure livelihoods.