Advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment through GMRVF’s SMILE Campaign

24 March 2022

Women an epitome of strength, perseverance and patience redefined the meaning of success while struggling through the aftermaths of Covid-19. As per studies, the impact on job losses and food insecurity has been higher for people with lower levels of education, urban residents and migrants. With GMR Varalakshmi Foundation, the CSR arm of GMR Group initiating numerous programs to support in livelihood restoration of these people, it was witnessed that a good ratio of women from low income group families were standing up to work and support their family’s income.


One such initiatives, SMILE (Supporting Marginalized Individuals through Livelihoods & Empowerment) initiated by GMRVF team focused on helping restoration of livelihood of beneficiaries identified. As part of the campaign, the beneficiaries are supported with push-pull carts for various income generation activities like selling vegetable, fruits, fast food items, cloths, shoes and even transporting materials. On an average, each of these individuals are earning Rs. 500 to 800 per day and managing their family firmly.

One such case is of 53 years old, Geeta Devi who has a family of three consisting her husband and a daughter. Her husband was working as a daily wage labourer in a private company and was earning just enough for survival of the family. Unfortunately, just before the lockdown her husband suffered in hypertension and lost his job. The lockdown made their life more difficult for survival and they were dependent on cooked food and dry rations distributed in the community.

When the lockdown was relieved, Geeta searched for daily wages in the neighbouring areas but unable to find one because of her age. GMRVF got in touch with Geeta Devi and during the discussion, she showed her interest to start a road side eatery as she feels she made good parathas. GMRVF supported her with a four wheeler cart under the SMILE project to start her eatery.

Every morning, Geeta serves chole paratha through her push-pull cart at the nearby bus stop. Her husband also helps her in preparing food and she earns an income of Rs. 400- 500 per day.