Apr 4, 2018 – In India like in most places, people infected with HIV suffer from stigmatization and isolation. As a microfinance institution that serves exclusively women, ECLOF India is particularly concerned with women affected by the disease.
Marriage is the most frequent route of transmission of HIV for them, 90% have got the infection inadvertently from their husbands. Most of these women are now widows, and most have children, some of whom have themselves tested HIV positive. These families are in the most precarious situations. Excluded from the normal labor market, they find it nearly impossible to make a living. Successfully building a micro business of their own can transform their lives.
In partnership with the NGO Positive Women Network, ECLOF India conducted two workshops on entrepreneurship and business management for HIV-affected women. The 55 participants were aged between 22 and 40, thus in the prime of their working lives. 20% of them already had a business while the rest inspired to start one. The training conveyed practical skills and knowledge as well as a sense of community and self-confidence.
Some of the participants have since started or grown their own businesses. This has helped them find a place in their community and support themselves and their families. Increasing income also allowed them to improve their health by accessing treatment and better nutrition.