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Poocharam Federation is a community-based organization committed to empowering women through employment and financial power within their own families. Artisans are hired from disadvantaged landless families, and produce a variety of woven fibre products using palm leaf, sisal, banana bark and coconut leaf. In 1998, female leaders within the organization ran for local office and were elected, a significant step toward gender equality. Currently some 30 women leaders within Poocharam Federation hold local office, and the organization continues to encourage political and community involvement among its members. Benefits for artisans include HIV prevention training, loan programs, a uniform and education fund, as well as government-sponsored life insurance. Poocharam Federation also supports programs for primary school children and environmental awareness.