Low-income individuals and communities need financial resources, access to markets, and marketplace literacy to function effectively in themarketplace as customers and as entrepreneurs. Marketplace literacy, a concept developed on the basis of extensive research, is not basic literacybut rather skills, awareness of rights, and self-confidence needed to function in the marketplace. This concept was used as a basis to develop a consumer and entrepreneurial literacy educational program which assumes that our audience cannot read or write. The program uses an understanding of marketplaces as a basis for being an informed buyer or seller. We use a variety of methods such as picture sorting, simulated shopping, and role plays. We believe such understanding can enable individuals to place themselves on a path to lifelong learning and adapt to changing circumstances. Topics covered range from consumer skills to choosing an enterprise to start and being customer oriented. This education program has been provided and assessed for almost a decade and is documented in a book entitled "Enabling Consumer and EntrepreneurialLiteracy in Subsistence Marketplaces” published in an education series in alliance with UNESCO (http://www.springer.com/education/book/978-1-4020-5768-7 ).
Following extensive piloting and assessment, the program is being scaled through large social enterprises with plans for implementation in other countries and contexts. We are also creating marketplace literacy communities in Chennai, India, and villages nearby where we work directly with self-help groups of women.
Who are our partners?
Marketplace Literacy Project, USA www.marketplaceliteracy.org
Community based organizations in Tamil Nadu, India
Madura Micro-Finance Limited, Tamil Nadu, India
Byrraju Foundation, Andhra Pradesh, India
Where do we directly work with communities?
North, Central and South Chennai, Tamil Nadu, South India
Villages in Uthiremerur Taluk (2 hours from Chennai), Tamil Nadu, South India
How many potential beneficiaries do we currently work with?
Approximately 100 self-help groups of women (each with 15-20 women)
What services do we offer?
> Marketplace literacy education
> Links to financial institutions
> Assistance in maintaining financial records
> Ongoing support for running enterprises
Who runs Marketplace Literacy Communities?
Marketplace Literacy Communities is run by three volunteers who founded it, R. Venkatesan, S. Sudhakar and K. Vijayakumar, who have extensive experience as social workers, educators, and research associates for academic endeavors. R. Venkatesan has coauthored a book and an academic paper on marketplace literacy.
We have three employees working with self-help groups in Chennai and two employees working with self-help groups in villages.
What are our short-term goals and why are we seeking donations?
We have either initiated work with existing self-help groups or formed or reactivated them. We provide linkages to financial institutions and assist groups with financial records required to maintain good standing.
We conduct base-line surveys to assess needs as they relate to the marketplaces and skill and confidence levels in marketplace literacy. Our short term goals are to provide marketplace literacy education to the self-help groups in our communities through video and activity based methods and provide support to enterprises that are started up.
What are the costs of educating one self-help group of women in marketplace literacy?
Approximately Rs. 10,000 – this works out to Rs. 500 per woman which puts her on a path to lifelong learning. Moreover, she educates her family and those around her.
How can donations be made to Marketplace Literacy Communities?
Marketplace Literacy Communities (MLC) is now accepting donations in the form of cheques or cash.
Cheques can be mailed to:
Plot No. 1, Yadhaval Main Street, (Opposite to Devi Karumariamman Theatre), Virugambakkam, Chennai-600092, India
Cash or cheques will also be collected by our volunteers. To have a cheque collected at your convenience, please call:
R. Venkatesan, Founder and Director – Cell: 9710265183; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
S. Sudhakar, Founder and Associate Director – Cell: 9840989822; email: email@example.com
K. Vijayakumar, Founder and Associate Director – Cell: 9710458483; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Receipts will be provided at the time of donation.
Please note that donations are not tax-deductible and donations can only be made by citizens of India.
A donation of Rs. 10000 can educate a self-help group of women, positively impacting approximately 20 families. The approximate cost of educating one woman is Rs. 500. These are for your information and we welcome any donation and thank you for your generosity. We will provide details of how your donation made an impact while protecting the privacy of our participants.