This center is the raison d’etre of the Institute. The center is named after the founder Ms. Varalakshmi Rao (later Swami Vishwarupananda). Since its inception the major concern of the institute has been empowerment of women, which is a very broad and all-encompassing concept. Skill development and income generation, tackling malnutrition are some of the major areas of focus for this center.
The institute provided seamless education from pre-primary (nursery) to graduation from an Industrial Training Institute. Due to reasons beyond its control the institute had to suspend the industrial training institute. This was substituted with a six months Jan Siksha Sansthan certification course followed by production and product training since2006.
Income generation programmes concentrate in two areas – FOOD with an emphasis on tackling malnutrition and anaemia amongst women and children and TEXTILE with income generation through sale of products under the brand name “SUBHA – a new dawn for women.
SSMI has built models that need to be evaluated and replicated.
The model is named after a slum located in West Delhi where it was first experimented. The model has been tried and tested under both the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and the Mid-Day Meals Scheme (MDMS). Both the schemes are Central Govt. sponsored schemes, catering to over a hundred and twenty million beneficiaries under ICDS and a hundred million students under MDMS. Despite such an extensive programme spread over more than six decades, the levels of mal-nutrition and anemia are at unacceptable levels, even below a large number of low income countries. Obviously, there are serious fault lines.
SSMI has concentrated on one of the major fault line – the last mile problem – delivery of nutrition. The Jehangirpuri Model makes the women from the beneficiary community the principle stakeholders and ensures transparency.Read More
Most skill development programnmes are an end in themselves - skill people and let them trade the skill for employment or engage in self-employment ventures. SSMI believes that training should lead to income. This requires that production and marketing become an integral part of training, since income can only be generated when there is production that is sold. Marketing requires that the product is fashion contemporary.
After providing basic textile skills (under the Jan Siksha Sansthan certification of the Ministry of HRD. Govt. of India) those with skill and aptitude are provided production and product training. SSMI has set up a design center. SSMI markets its produce under a brand, appropriately named – “SUBHA – a new dawn for women”
Food production is at its infancy. SSMI campus has been given a license to manufacture by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.Read More
The best and the safest method of delivery of nutrition is through cooked food. Cooked food is not universal, but location specific. Cooking is a process where food safety must be ensured. All these and other considerations make up the last mile problem that seem simple, but are very complex. SSMI is firmly committed to delivery of nutrition through cooked food.
The other cardinal beliefs of SSMI are:
There are basically three ways of delivering nutrition:
Centralized and decentralized delivery
The order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court clearly mandates decentralized kitchen listed as 3 above: “The contractors shall not be used for supply of nutrition in Anganwadis and preferably ICDS funds shall be spent by making use of village communities, self-help groups and Mahila Mandals for buying of grains and preparation of meals.” (Order dated 7/10/2004 in CWP no. 176/2001 – Point No. 3) This order was delivered in the context of ICDS.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court’s Judgement of Nov. 2001 defined the legal status of MDMS as “Mid-Day meal, in the form of cooked food, having the scheduled calories and proteins, shall be the legal right of the children studying in Govt. and aided Govt. schools” The scheduled calories and protein are defined in Schedule II of the National Food Security Act 2013. This Act also prohibits centralized kitchens in rural areas.
The table below gives a comparison between centralized and decentralized models of delivery of cooked food:
|Centralized delivery of cooked food|
|Minimizes human intervention|
|Isolated and out of bounds for the beneficiaries|
|Covers large areas and food travels long distances tropical temperatures Safety depends on time the food travels|
|Decentralized delivery of cooked food|
|Within reach of SHG funding|
|Maximizes Women’s employment|
|Maximizes transparency by being located amidst beneficiaries|
|Food travels minimum distance – food remains hot and safe|
Anybody who has used a refrigerator would understand what the relationship is. The purpose of the refrigerator is to ensure that food is never left in the danger zone of 60 to 5 degrees centigrade. Centralized kitchens work on large volumes and therefore they have to deliver over a very large catchment area.
Given the distances, the road conditions and traffic chaos this implies that hot cooked meals have to travel over a long distance hot cooked meals travel over long distances in the danger zone. The rule in respect to similar schemes in Australia is “If perishable food has been in the temperature danger zone for 2 to 4 hours consume it immediately. After 4 hours throw it out.”
Characteristics of the Jehangirpuri Model:
SSMI conducted a one year study of Mid- Day Meals Scheme in District Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh. The study was comprehensive. It covered the following areas:
SUBHA– is a brand name of the micro- enterprise, launched by SSMI, for the production of food items and textiles.
Today more than ever, women need to find their own path to financial freedom. SSMI was one of the 96 NGOs that partnered with the Govt. of NCT of Delhi to operate a Gender Resource Center. One of the activities of the center was to provide vocational training to women from low income families. Training was certified by the Jan Siksha Sansthan that is part of the Ministry of HRD Govt. of India. SSMI was providing, two batches of 50 women, six months training in cutting and tailoring.
In keeping with its tradition, SSMI launched a programme to take training to income. SSMI provides 6 months training in cutting and tailoring to two batches of 50 women each. Select trainees from Jan Sikhsha Sansthan certificate are provided an opportunity to enhance their skills through a three stage participatory process namely ‘learning by doing, learning by producing and learning by earning’. Women are trained as per their aptitude in embroidery, block printing, tailoring, hand painting, or alternately under the finishing & packaging unit that involves thread cutting, closure fixing, alterations, stain removing, dry cleaning and packaging. Thus women with basic skills and having skill and aptitude were given product and production skills.
Training could only be a means, the end being income. Skill by itself cannot ensure livelihood. For skill to generate income there has to be productive activity that generates income. The skill – production- income cycle is complete.
Initially, SSMI provided training, not only at the SSMI campus, but also in villages located in West Delhi, enabling women to produce and supplement their family income. Modest small scale (micro) production was set up. In the seventies an Industrial Training Institute (ITI) was set up in the SSMI Campus The vocational training center building, at SSMI campus, was designed specifically for both training and production. Due to various reasons the ITI had to be suspended.
A group of novices cannot produce quality goods that alone can sell and generate income. They need to be supported by experienced persons who could mentor them and ensure quality production. Years of working in the slums, SSMI realized that urban India consisted of slums populated by people who were driven from rural India due to failure of agriculture on the one hand and handicrafts and handlooms on the other. An artisanal survey of the neighbourhood slums, validated SSMI’s observation and revealed that there were migrants from rural areas who possessed traditional textile related skills. These women were generally older and mature and were very experienced. They were retrained in production as well as contemporary designs. They became mentors for the younger women. To date, 54 women have been tested and recognized as artisans and have received artisan cards from the Handloom and Handicrafts Council, Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India.
With that skill set SSMI decided to launch a production center. An ambitious and adventurous decision was taken to market under an SSMI brand name – SUBHA. Through a design center SSMI maintains a critical linkage between the artisans and the markets, in terms of designs, quality and datelines. The product range of ethnic and contemporary designs caters to the clientele that shops in Malls and boutiques. “SUBHA” provides a wide range of high quality products at highly competitive price.
SUBHA has its shop in the SSMI campus. In addition, product are sold through
In the very near future, SSMI will be collaborating with a South African institute to provide training and production in Indian block printing using Indian and African motifs.
SSMI would soon provide studio space to young budding designers, where they can develop designs, leading to a symbiotic relationship between designers and SUBHA production. The design nursery studio would be provided free of rent for a period of one year.