In 2006, ICECD broke new grounds by implementing a unique pilot project for the economic rehabilitation of more than 3500 rural widows in the state of Gujarat along with the Women and Child Development Department and Social Security Department Government of Gujarat. The project successfully enabled 90% of these widows to start small businesses/get linked with skilled employment and earn INR 1,500 to INR 25,000 (US $ 30 to 500) per month. This was the first step towards their economic independence. It not only provided a sustained means of livelihood to them, but their renewed confidence led to a positive shift in their social acceptance and status!
The development intervention by ICECD targeted widows belonging to rural poor families/schedule caste/schedule tribes/Muslim community/Christians. More than 65% of these widows were illiterate. The area of special concern was enhancing their competitiveness and developing them as human resources in all spheres, including the economic. This not only resulted in a better social status of these widows, but they became economically independent and their children got better education. Their standard of life improved.


  • Widows trained directly by ICECD:13000
  • NGO’s trained by ICECD through Capacity building: 23 (all India)
  • Widows trained indirectly:45000
  • Investment Creation: Approx. US$ 9 Million (INR 45 Crores)

These widows are from over 22 districts of Gujarat, mainly Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Valsad, Patan, Baroda, Surendranagar, Bharuch, Surat, Anand, Kheda, Navsari, Jamnagar, Panchmahal, Kutchch, Rajkot, Mehsana, Amreli, Banaskantha & Sabarkantha.
The range of products and services of the businesses run by these widows :

Readymade GarmentsSari fall beading
Snacks, Cold DrinksBeauty Parlour
Water PouchTelephone booth
StationeryFlower stall
Plastic ToysGoat rearing
Confectionery / ChocolatesFlour mill
Milk ProductsBuffalo rearing
Mouth freshenersCow rearing
Fruits, VegetablesPoultry
Mirror work, Artificial JewelleryGrocery shop
Cassettes, C.D.Tiffin service
Animal feed

These widows, between the age group of 18 – 40 years, were either illiterate or semi literate. Today, they are economically independent and live with self respect in society. Their earning vary between Rs.7000/- to Rs.40,000/- per month.


Ruiaben Arvindbhai Vaghela – Nadiyad, Kheda
It was a dream of Ruiaben to make her children educated, but it was not possible for her because of her poverty. She is 30 years old had lost her husband who was the only bread earner of the family. After her husband’s death, she could not continue to send the children to school.
When ICECD came to her and informed her about the training,she was convinced and joined them. After completing the training, she has taken a loan with the help of ICECD and started her business of provision store. She has developed a lot of confidence after the training and earned Rs.800/- per month in the initial stage. This increased to Rs.2000/- within a few months. With this money, she is able to educate her children and lead a happy life.
Mayaben Mahendrabhai Modi
Mayaben is financially self independent and self-reliant and is able to support her family economically now, but the condition was not the same before a year. She is 38 years old who is handicapped (one leg) and the condition became worst when her husband died soon after her marriage. She lost all her hopes and lived in very bad conditions.
When she came to know about ICECD training, she came and was counseled to do something to stand on her own feet. She got training of preparing phenyl and detergent and started her own business. Today, she is earning Rs.5,000/- per month. Her children are also proud of her. She is now happy that she is able to give a good life to her family.