Empowering Homemakers to Become E-Homepreneurs

Empowering Homemakers to Become E-Homepreneurs

Chong Sheau Ching (eHomemakers, Malaysia)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 7
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-815-4.ch040
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Abstract

A number of factors explain why homemakers would want to transform themselves into home workers. Among these are the desire to rebuild confidence in one’s own abilities by earning money after years of being a homemaker, the formation of a new network of mother friends who are also business partners, and the learning of skills needed for a home-based business (Ping, 2000). One of the skills that are increasingly being developed among groups engaged in business enterprises is the utilization of ICTs for work. For example, an ICT project in South India involves the setting up of telecenters that enable rural families to access ICT. The training of educated youth, especially women, in operating information shops has resulted in groups of women with small business enterprises and savings cooperatives (Balaji, Kumaran, & Rajasekarapandy, 2002). An important feature of the groups’ use of ICTs for work is the strong sense of ownership that the communities develop for the telecenters, as well as the participation of women in the management and use of the telecenters. Close consultation between the project staff and users, gender sensitivity, and the use of local language in the computer programs are the important features of the project. To specifically address the needs of disadvantaged women in Malaysia, the eHomemakers (http://www.ehomemakers.net) network started a pilot project in 2002 known as Salaam Wanita. The Salaam Wanita community consists of aspiring home workers and homepreneurs from the Klang Valley and Ipoh. Members are urban-based, low-income, and unemployed homemakers (single mothers, disabled persons, caregivers for disabled or aged dependents, and those who are chronically ill like SLE [systemic lupus erythematosus] patients who cannot work or go outside to work due to sensitivity to light and susceptibility to injuries). They are mostly homebound because of physical disabilities or home situations. Some are plagued by depression and suicidal tendencies. Consequently, they are economically constrained due to their inability to find work or business opportunities outside their homes. The Salaam Wanita project is designed to empower these women to network, and to gain ICT and microentrepreneurial skills for socioeconomic self-reliance.

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