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From Bihar To Nepal: Sangeeta's Journey Of Struggles

From Bihar To Nepal: Sangeeta's Journey Of Struggles
Lalitpur, Nepal: Living in a joint family of eight 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 from Usha Silai School. Finding it difficult to make ends meet in India, Sangeeta and her family moved to Nepal in search of a better life. Yet, their troubles didn't cease with the migration. Unending financial woes resulted in all their hopes being dependent on selling the produce of their farm. However, their 10 kattha (0.333 hectare) of land was insufficient to feed everyone in her family, let alone be a source of income. By now, Sangeeta had become more eager to brush up on her forgotten skill of sewing and make a livelihood out of that.

"My father-in-law came home after about five years of work in Malaysia as a laborer" she said when asked about what prompted her to enroll herself for the sewing school. "He always inspired us to work with the skills in hand. With his earning he enrolled me in the Usha Silai School to learn tailoring."

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.

CARE Nepal, an organisation aimed at empowering the poor, vulnerable and socially excluded people so as to fulfill their basic needs and help them achieve social justice in Nepal, seeing Sangeeta's determination to work, offered her assistance to start her own sewing school.

With the monetary help she received she purchased an interlock machine and got repair work done in her house to start holding sewing classes there. She says with pride and with a sense of gratitude to her in-laws who have supported her throughout the journey,

I am the first woman in my family who has been able to start a business by sewing. I have trained over ten women till now. After they got married, they, too, have received support from their family which has helped them become tailors.

Usha Silai School, a programme that has changed the lives of many underprivileged women in India and beyond. It has helped women like Sangeeta who have been looking for opportunities to sustain themselves.

Despite knowing stitching, I never earned from it until I took the formal training. Now, I have been in this profession for 3-4 years and can do more than the nine techniques that I was taught during training period. Sometimes, when I see different kinds of stitching designs on television, I make a mental note of it and try re-creating those."

Today, Sangeeta is well versed in stitching skirts, shirts, pants, school uniforms, bags and so on. As her earning stabilised and increased, she managed to pay off her loans as well. Sangeeta is not just proud of her career growth, she is also happy for those women whom she has managed to help by training them. "Out of all the women I have taught, 2-3 women have started their own sewing schools" she said.

To her, stitching has given her those opportunities that she had only hoped for earlier. "I would feel sad when my husband would refuse to give me money. Now that I have my own income, I no longer need to ask for it or explain why I spend it."
 

 
Also Read: Moving Towards A Fearless Future, Soni From Nithari Village Takes Charge Of Her Life
 

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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

    Rohit Bal

  • Sayantan Sarkar

    Sayantan Sarkar

  • Shaila Khubchandani

    Shaila Khubchandani

  • Sreejith Jeevan

    Sreejith Jeevan

  • Swati Vijaivargie

    Swati Vijaivargie

Fashion Designers This Season

More
  • Rohit Bal

    Rohit Bal

  • Sayantan Sarkar

    Sayantan Sarkar

  • Shaila Khubchandani

    Shaila Khubchandani

  • Sreejith Jeevan

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  • Swati Vijaivargie

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