SOCIAL entrepreneur Vatsala Nair Manoharan has formed Mom’s Village to help women achieve financial independence by rediscovering their value.
The establishment, according to her, serves as a community space for women who are rebuilding their lives to seek emotional support through peer groups for abused women.
To empower these women, Vatsala created the hashtag #10Ringgit with the aim of encouraging them to earn at least RM10 a day.
“This allows the mothers to rediscover their self-worth and start businesses from home with limited resources and investments.
“We aim to reduce women’s dependence on shelter homes when they leave abusive marriages or survive crises, ” she explained.
Vatsala said during the movement control order (MCO) period, most single and abandoned mothers were financially drained.
“The abandoned mothers who sold nasi lemak by the roadside were badly hit, especially during the MCO period.
“They are now trying to restart their lives and certainly need help.”
Vatsala said abandoned mothers usually faced the problem of husbands who would make sudden appearances and then leave without providing any financial support.
These wives would commonly not file for divorce due to the fear of being judged by society, lack of knowledge and time, poor finances as well as not having a support system.
“In some cases, these women continue living with their abusive husbands because they have no financial independence to afford even the basics such as sanitary napkins.
“In other cases, the husband may have bought an asset with the wife and stopped payment.
“He would then have gone missing and not divorced the wife, leaving her with tremendous mental stress and financial difficulties, ” she said.
Vatsala urged authorities such as the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) to provide more outreach to abandoned mothers.
“I see the only way out for these women is to have financial literacy and stability.
“Local councils should also play a role by issuing more business permits and avenues for them to start their own businesses, ” she said.
Moms Village also offers eco-friendly gifts and merchandise through the brand Magic Seed.
“This is an initiative to offer beneficiaries an opportunity to earn a decent living by making and selling eco-friendly gifts that give value to people, planet and celebrations.
“These women are financially enabled to put themselves through workshops or affordable entrepreneurial boot camps, thereby giving them an opportunity to start their own business.
Another programme that equips women with entrepreneurial, financial and marketing skills is the seven-week IbuPJ.
The programmes focus primarily on improving the lives of single mothers in the B40 group in Petaling Jaya.
It is part of the National Sustainability Challenge by the Axiata Young CEO Development Programme.
IbuPJ co-founder Mathew Wong said the programme enabled women to transform their business online to help boost their household income.
“Helping single mothers in Petaling Jaya is vital for economic recovery post-Covid-19 and at the same time, directly helps those in need of assistance from Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ).
“Our team has created an end-to-end programme for IbuPJ in collaboration with MBPJ that will equip single mothers with entrepreneurial, financial and digital marketing skills through a four-week workshop.
“We also provide them with an e-commerce platform to sell their products and services, thereby helping them to generate sales and build a community of empowered single mothers in Petaling Jaya, ” added Wong.
The top 10 mothers in the programme will have access to seed grants of RM800 to buy raw material and necessary equipment needed for their business.