Steps towards empowering women at Jamia Bazaar

Stocked with craftworks for household items, locally made perfumes, various art works, mouth-watering cuisine and all the essentials of an everyday marketplace, the Jamia Bazaar is something more than just an ordinary fair. 

It has an emotion to describe, a tale to tell. The bazaar now in its second year since its inception in 2011, provides a platform for the women of Jamia Nagar in bustling south Delhi to not only showcase their talent but also provide them with tools to take a business forward.
 Actress and social activist Shabana Azmi, who inaugurated the 3-day bazaar on Saturday, says the event brought back memories of her father, poet Kaifi Azmi, who was involved in a similar work in the bylanes of Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh. "I come from a small village of 540 people in Mizwaa, Azamgarh where women have made it large through such efforts. I'm amazed that designers like Manish Malhotra are working with these women. It's wonderful to see the spirit of enterprise in these women," says Azmi referring to her father's NGO.

The actress pointed out that the bazaar "not only brought the women out of their shells but has also provided them with an opportunity to explore a new world by eliminating the middlemen. It's a moment of happiness, smaller but significant, this step in the direction of empowerment of women”. 

The current Jamia bazaar has 34 stalls dedicated to arts and crafts and cultural stuff, designed by the women, in addition to 15 stalls of cuisines including the mouthwatering Kashmiri wazwaan, Mughlai food and other Indian recipes.The crafts range from clothes for women, ornaments, embellishments, household decoration pieces, carry bags, locally made perfumes, toiletries and other household items and books. 

Conceived by the NGO Centre for Equity and inclusion (Cequin) to provide a platform for women and girls of Jamia Nagar and help them find means of livelihood and a dignified life by providing training and eliminating the role of middlemen, the organisation is now working with more than 1000 households mostly below the poverty line.

This year the NGO has collaborated with designers from National Institute of Design (NID) to prepare the women for product design and quality control through intensive workshop trainings and participative approach. "We have  sought professional help  and products have been created using bead work, hand Zari work, resham embroidery (needle work on silk)," says Sara Pilot, Chairperson, CEQUIN. 


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