August 17 2018 Empowering Women to Thrive Through an SOS small-business program in India, you help bring stability to families and empower women entrepreneurs like Rani. TILAK NAGAR, India—As Rani drops the dark yellow pieces of turmeric root into the grinding machine, the production room quickly fills with a strong curry-like aroma. On a shelf nearby, small bags of ground turmeric, cumin, kasoori methi, and coriander are stacked with other spices used in traditional Indian cooking. Wearing a bright yellow veil to protect her face while grinding, Rani says, “We think there’s a good market for selling our spices in nearby shops.” Rani, a struggling mother of three, first approached SOS Children’s Villages two years ago, hoping to expand her small sewing business so she could afford school fees for her children. The SOS Family-Strengthening Program in Tilak Nagar, on the outskirts of Delhi, India, provided access to a loan. Rani increased her monthly income by more than 900%. Building on that success, Rani banded together with 11 other women to start the spice operation. As the lead manager, Rani oversees training and work assignments, from grinding and packaging to marketing and selling. SOS Children’s Village of India has been helping more than 60 families, with 200 children, in the Tilak Nagar community outside Delhi. Having just opened in March, they have not seen much profit yet, but they are working to increase their output and the variety of spices to satisfy growing demand. By the end of the year, they hope to grow large enough to receive investment from the government. Thanks to you, Family-Strengthening Programs are able to provide the seed money, guidance, and financial services to enable people like Rani to start their own businesses. For the spice endeavor, SOS assisted Rani and the other women with business planning and getting the required government certification. Using its extensive community ties, SOS also connected the women to other spice operators for process training and guidance. By organizing aspiring entrepreneurs into support groups, the Family-Strengthening Programs you support put women on the road to success. Women in the groups learn from each other and pool their savings to provide each other with small entrepreneurship loans like the ones Rani received. Every new project is vetted before being funded, and the support groups act as startup incubators where new projects are evaluated and tested. Empowering Women to Strengthen Their Family Assistant Village Director Niharika Chamola explains, “We have a special objective of empowering women. If the mother is empowered, she can bring up the children and support the family in a much better way…Then the whole family is empowered, and the whole society is empowered.” Thanks to you, Rani can keep her children in school. A Better Chance in Life Having experienced these positive effects firsthand, Rani hopes to help the other women in the spice business lift themselves out of poverty. She adds, “Like our parents, we are living in poverty. We want our children to have better chances in life, to be better educated.” Thanks to you, Rani’s three children are going to school and reaching for their dreams…and they dream big. She says they dream of becoming a doctor, a police officer, and an army office. Without you, none of this would be possible.