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In A Bid To Empower Women, USHA Silai School Reaches Remotest Islands And Villages

With 17,000 Silai Schools, Usha Silai School program has upskilled and empowered over 3 lakh women across 9,000 villages of India. Now, the program has reached remotest islands and villages of India. Here is a story of four empowered women from Sundarbans, Lakshadweep, and Andaman, driven by the ambition to change their lives and find their purpose enriched.

In A Bid To Empower Women, USHA Silai School Reaches Remotest Islands And Villages

Meet Monika Bijung, a single mother of three children (two daughters and a son), from Andaman and Nicobar Islands who has overcome all her hardships on her own. 10 years ago when Monika's husband left her and their children, Monika contemplated suicide, but somehow she managed to tap into her creative side - sewing and joined USHA Silai School program.

In A Bid To Empower Women, USHA Silai School Reaches Remotest Islands And Villages

After undergoing seven days of training in Andaman for opening her own Silai School, she started giving lessons to other women and girls. Till date, she has taught 150 individuals and on an average earns Rs. 10,000 per month.

In A Bid To Empower Women, USHA Silai School Reaches Remotest Islands And Villages

Having defied all odds, Monika is a role model for her children. Now she wants to visit the USHA Hab, an institute in Mumbai and undergo a one to two days workshop on new designs and embroidery work.

In A Bid To Empower Women, USHA Silai School Reaches Remotest Islands And Villages

Here is a story of Shakeela Bibi, one of the tiger widows whose husband passed away 10 years ago in a tiger attack in Sundarban's Jhingekhali Island. While Shakeela, a mother of three had to don the hat of breadwinner to run her family, her daughter left her studies to take care of the two brothers. With the passage of time, Shakeela's sons too dropped out of school to earn and feed their family whereas Shakeela continued doing fishing which would fetch her Rs. 20 - 25 per day.

In A Bid To Empower Women, USHA Silai School Reaches Remotest Islands And Villages

Shakeela used to practice sewing in her ancestor's house and was partially skilled in tailoring which helped her in getting a sewing machine and training from USHA in 2018. Today, she imparts training to 6-7 learners and works for a local factory to make ‘Kantha' (a two layered cloth blanket, popular in rural Bengal).

In A Bid To Empower Women, USHA Silai School Reaches Remotest Islands And Villages

While the sewing job brings her Rs. 1500-2000 every month, fishing adds Rs. 500-700 in her monthly income.

In A Bid To Empower Women, USHA Silai School Reaches Remotest Islands And Villages

Namita Gayen, is another struggling tiger widow in Sundarbans. 17 years ago, when Namita's husband passed away, she was left with nothing but a 10-year-old son, nine months daughter, also a special child, and a shock.

In A Bid To Empower Women, USHA Silai School Reaches Remotest Islands And Villages

To sustain her family and provide education to her children, Namita had to move out of the house in search of work. Being the only bread earner in the family, Namita would take all kinds of work.

In A Bid To Empower Women, USHA Silai School Reaches Remotest Islands And Villages

When USHA offered a week-long tailoring course, Namita underwent the training session and within a week she started her own silai school with five students. Today, she is involved in making Kantha and other work as per the demand and earns Rs. 3000 - 3500 every month.

In A Bid To Empower Women, USHA Silai School Reaches Remotest Islands And Villages

29-year-old Shabana, a resident of Agatti Island of Lakshwadeep, has always faced financial difficulty, courtesy irregular income from her job and designing work. The lack of financial stability makes it difficult for Shabana to run her house and feed her two children. Also, her husband who works at the ship stays away from his family for six months straight.

In A Bid To Empower Women, USHA Silai School Reaches Remotest Islands And Villages

To overcome the issue, in 2016, Shabana underwent a seven days training offered by USHA Silai School and later started her own silai school. Currently, 24 students are being trained in Shabana's school, providing her steady income to take care of children's education and basic needs.

In A Bid To Empower Women, USHA Silai School Reaches Remotest Islands And Villages

Today, Shabana is independent and confident of her skills and plans to start her own boutique.

Adopt a Silai School

Adopt a Silai School

Do you want to be a part of the huge change that Usha Silai School is bringing about in the lives of millions of rural women? With just a simple click of a button, you can now contribute towards the opening of an Usha Silai School or support various other aspects of the school.

About the Initiative

About the Initiative

Kushalta Ke Kadam, an initiative by NDTV and USHA, aims at empowering women from rural India and encourages them to become entrepreneurs by taking up sewing and training others in their respective communities. Since 2011 Usha Silai Campaign has trained more than 3.95 lakh rural women within five years, with 17,000 Silai schools, spanning over 9272 Indian villages in India.

 

Kushalta Ke Kadam in Season 4 has returned with new goals and vision. The new season will witness the establishment of the new cluster in Kashmir, apart from the existing four clusters setup last year. The women from volatile Kashmir will work with well-known fashion designer Rohit Bal and get an unique opportunity to learn from him and make clothes for him. The work done by the Silai School women will be presented at Lakme Fashion week 2019.

 

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