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Kushalta Ke Kadam Goes International, Empowers Women In Sri Lanka, Nepal

Jermegini, 26, had moved to India in 1990 due to the civil war in Sri Lanka. While in India, she stayed in a refugee camp at Kudiyatham in Vellore and learned basics of stitching and sewing. It was this skill that Usha Silai School later honed and helped her build a life from scratch in her home country.

Kushalta Ke Kadam Goes International, Empowers Women In Sri Lanka, Nepal

When Jermegini and her family moved to India for temporary refuge, they left behind all their possessions. When they finally returned to Sri Lanka in 2010, they returned to absolutely nothing and felt like refugees in their own country. Jermegini struggle to find a livelihood to sustain her family.

Kushalta Ke Kadam Goes International, Empowers Women In Sri Lanka, Nepal

Then came an opportunity, a 7-day training programme in sewing and embroidery at Usha Silai School in Trincomallee, Sri Lanka. After completing the course, she ventured out to set up her own tailoring business. Jermegini learnt stitching different styles of sari blouses during the Silai school training programme. Now, she is a renowned tailor in her village. She makes a variety of sari blouses and has become very popular for her signature princess cut blouse.

Today she is able to earn between 10,000-15,000 Sri Lankan Rupee per month.

Kushalta Ke Kadam Goes International, Empowers Women In Sri Lanka, Nepal

"Our parents had moved us to India to escape from the war" said Nagawani, a victim of the 25 year long civil war that ripped through the lives of many in Sri Lanka. When Nagawani returned home, she used her skills of sewing and embroidery to rebuild her life.

Kushalta Ke Kadam Goes International, Empowers Women In Sri Lanka, Nepal

After completing Usha Silai School's 7-day training, Nagawani received a sewing machine. She set up her own school to teach women sewing and earns nearly Sri Lanka Rs 6000 a month. She has now been able to expand her school with two more sewing machines.

Kushalta Ke Kadam Goes International, Empowers Women In Sri Lanka, Nepal

"My work is my greatest support. I meet all the big expenses with my income, be it medicines, education fees, or weddings" said Nagawani who hopes that more women can take up sewing as a profession and become independent.

Kushalta Ke Kadam Goes International, Empowers Women In Sri Lanka, Nepal

Living in a joint family of 8 members in a village of Lalitpur district located in the Lumbini Zone of Nepal is Sangeeta Dhawan, a woman who has pieced together her life with help of Usha Silai School.

Kushalta Ke Kadam Goes International, Empowers Women In Sri Lanka, Nepal

When their 10 kattha (0.333 hectare) of land was insufficient to feed everyone in her family, Sangeeta decided to brush up on her forgotten skill of sewing and make a living out of it. Once she started her 7-day training at the Usha Silai School, she began learning different styles of stitching and soon became a master at tailoring women's garments.

Kushalta Ke Kadam Goes International, Empowers Women In Sri Lanka, Nepal

'I am the first woman in my family who has been able to start a business through sewing. I have trained over 10 women,' she says with pride. She is very grateful to her in-laws for supporting her through this journey.

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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