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From Jobless To Creating Jobs, It's Been A Fulfilling Journey For Poonam Verma

From Jobless To Creating Jobs, It's Been A Fulfilling Journey For Poonam Verma
Lucknow: In India, no more than 14% of business establishments are run by female entrepreneurs, according to the Sixth Economic Census by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO). This means that out of the 58.5 million businesses in India, only 8.05 million are managed by women. This only suggests that women in many parts of the country are still not prepared to take on the reins of their own business. More so in the interiors of the country where women anyway have less exposure and opportunities, given that in many places women stepping out of their homes to earn a living is still frowned upon. Even now it is a man's world and it is considered a man's job to make money, run the household and put food on the table for the family. 

Circumstances were slightly different for Poonam Verma, 32, a resident of the Deoria district located approximately 300 Km from Lucknow.  Unlike most women in the state, Poonam was educated. She had earned a Masters degree in Arts. But despite her qualifications she could not find a suitable job opportunity. Starting something of her was an alien concept in her surroundings.

After I was married, I lived on what my husband earned. My husband owns a small shop but it doesn't yield enough to feed the entire family. Expenses increased when our children grew up. It was difficult to pay for their school fees and buy their uniforms" she says.

Footing bills, became a daily challenge for Poonam and her husband. It was then that Poonam came in contact of an organisation that changed her life.

Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojna (RGMVP), a community-driven government organisation working towards poverty reduction and women's empowerment, has been working dedicatedly in the small villages of North India, including those of Uttar Pradesh.

As Poonam's village is one among those receiving help from the organisation, she too was referred to the Usha Silai School training programme by them.

"(The women of Deoria district) were informed by RGMVP that Usha Silai School was conducting a 7-day sewing and embroidery training in (the nearby city) Gorakhpur," she said. "As I knew how to sew, I was also asked to attend the programme."

As part of the Usha Silai School training, which works to provide wholesome training to underprivileged women in India,to enable them to start their own sewing schools, those who complete the programmme receive a sewing machine.
 
Once Poonam completed her training, she started her own sewing school in 2013 with only one sewing machine. Since then she has been diligently running her school and has now expanded it by adding two more sewing machines.

Till date, Poonam has trained over 50 women in her village. Currently, teaching a class of 20 women, she charges her students Rs 100 for a month. Apart from this, she also earns approximately Rs 300 per month from tailoring work.

Some of the students attending Poonam's sewing school say, sewing helps them save money, afterall they no longer need to buy clothes on festivals or spend on new uniforms for their children.
 
kushalta ke kadam usha silai school poonam verma

Like a ripple effect, Poonam's initiation into sewing has inspired many women around her to start sewing school of their own.
 

Girls and women can become entrepreneurs even if they only start by a boutique or become tailors, says Poonam.




Watch: Poonam, an Example of Gender Equality in a Small Village of India


Thus, through the Usha Silai School, Poonam has found a new source of confidence, a new identity, something she hopes to sow seeds of in other women too.
 

Also Read: 'I Want To Improve Condition Of My Family, Educate My Children,' Says Chhotibai

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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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In Pics

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching
Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Rebari girls grow up learning traditional embroidery, which along with their new found sewing skills developed at Usha Silai Schools, is helping them earn a living.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Usha Silai School has empowered many rural women to support their family and send their children to school.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

The Usha Silai School, established in a small nondescript village that goes by the name of Kottai, is helping empower people from varied communities.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

The all-inclusive Usha Silai School Programme covers the entire nation from hamlets tucked between hills to villages cast by the sea.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Vegetables farmers from the Mizoram hills earn very little given the topography of the area. Usha Silai Schools have played an important part in this region by skilling women to financially contribute towards their households.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Usha Silai School learner Lucy has trained seven other women in her community, helping them to become financially independent.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Women like Kaviben from the nomadic Rebari community are finally laying down their roots as they begin to gain financial independence and thereby stability through Usha Silai School.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Usha Silai School, located in the Gujarat's Bhuj village, is enabling rural women to earn as much as Rs. 2,500-4,000 each month.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Usha Silai School, in association with a Gujarat based NGO called Kala Raksha, is trying to bring about a Silai revolution in Bhuj.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Besides training other women from their community, many Usha Silai School learners have become entrepreneurs in their own right.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

With sewing becoming easily accessible and lucrative, the silai schools are also helping revive traditional motifs and designs.

Fashion Designers This Season

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    Rohit Bal

  • Sayantan Sarkar

    Sayantan Sarkar

  • Shaila Khubchandani

    Shaila Khubchandani

  • Sreejith Jeevan

    Sreejith Jeevan

  • Swati Vijaivargie

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Fashion Designers This Season

More
  • Rohit Bal

    Rohit Bal

  • Sayantan Sarkar

    Sayantan Sarkar

  • Shaila Khubchandani

    Shaila Khubchandani

  • Sreejith Jeevan

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