From e-com to building homes and more, an all-woman team in Kerala is smashing stereotypes

Kudumbasree, Kerala, women
Kudumbasree, the Kerala government’s ambitious poverty eradication mission, was launched in 1998 by helping women form neighbourhood groups and engage in employment opportunities | All photos by special arrangement

When Beena and a team of 8 women reached Piravam in Kerala’s Ernakulum district sometime around 2015, their task of building houses for poor tribal people atop a hill was not only an unusual challenge but an arduous one too.

The state tribal department had contracted them for building 97 houses on 7 acres of barren land that had no electricity or water or even a road connecting the place to a city or a town.

With a budget of ₹2.5 lakh for each house of 360 sqft, they would need to put more than just the normal efforts. But they did not give up.

“It was our call. We had to take it and we had to prove what we were capable of, there was no choice,” says Beena.

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