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Here Is How This Silai Hero From Gujarat Is Preserving Local Art And Creating Livelihood

Here Is How This Silai Hero From Gujarat Is Preserving Local Art And Creating Livelihood
New Delhi: 

The framework of the USHA Silai School program contributes to the restoration and promotion of traditional motifs and crafts. Women have been using their skills and creativity to preserve local art and craft and also increase their earnings. The USHA Silai School initiative enables the fusion of traditional art with modern skill and encourages women to combine traditional handwork, beading, quilting among others with machine finishing. Here is the story of Hasuben Mohanbhai Rabari from Gujarat who learnt traditional embroidery from her mother and uses this knowledge along with the sewing skills she learnt from USHA Silai School to create finished products and earn about Rs 10,000 per month.

Also Read: USHA Silai School Ensured Sustenance To Bihar's Kalawati Devi Even During Covid

Hasuben comes from the Rabari community which is still far from access to education and is continuously migrating. Hasuben also could not get an education. The Rabaris are an indigenous tribal caste of nomadic cattle and camel herders, and shepherds, mostly living in North-West India, particularly what is now Gujarat. Her parents also had sheep and goats and used to migrate from one place to another in search of grass and water. They have migrated to various places of Gujarat like Vadodara, Baruch, Ankleshwar among others when she was a child. The migration occurs due to less or no rain in the district. As a child, she had to look after the lambs. During this time, she learnt handicrafts from her mother and relatives. She used this skill to earn some money. The distinctive embroidery, detailed thread work, and profusion of colours, all perfectly stitched together, are hallmarks of the Rabari tribe that Hasuben is an expert in. She got married to a shepherd at a young age. After marriage, she used to make quilts to help others, but not for money. She and her family settled in Kutch as it is their native place. She has two children - a 21-year-old daughter and an 18-year-old son.

In 2013, Hasuben was selected for the USHA Silai School training program. Training from USHA added more value to the products made by her. Now, she not only does embroidery work but also sews to make the final products. She said,

Embroidery is the art form of our Rabari community, and it is only the women of our community who can do this work. The designs that we make are inspired by nature. If we are making a tree, we think of the colours we would like to give the tree. If there are more trees around that one, then we think of what colours they should be in. If we feel those colours are not good, then we take colours from different flowers in nature.

She is also working as a coordinator of Kala Raksha voluntarily to check the quality of work being done by others. She is an expert in making designs and samples. She opened her own Silai School on February 1, 2013. Hasuben bought a new USHA machine for the daily work. Through her embroidery and sewing work, she is able to earn over Rs. 10,000 per month on an average.

According to Vijaykumar Gohel, Coordinator, USHA Silai School Program, Kutch is referred to as the hub of traditional craft. He said,

Different communities live here. each having its own identity. This craft is slowly dying out. New generations are not interested in practicing this craft. The reason for their disinterest is that it fetches a lower income.

Hasuben has passed on her skill and traditional art learnings to her daughter. She has been encouraging other girls and women to learn sewing so that they could survive even if they do not get hand craftwork. Hasuben believes that embroidery is a noble heritage. It is a symbol of trust. There are very few artisans now due to the loss of market and decline in skills. She said that as the demand for handicrafts is decreasing, many artisans are opting for labour work. Laxmiben Mohanbhai Rabari, Hasuben's daughter said,

We learnt a little bit of sewing in school. When I left school, my mother gave me the choice and said if I was interested in this work, I could learn it from her. I was interested. I would look at my mother's work, and think that I wanted to do it too. I was interested in stitching, as well as the Rabari empbroidery work. I learnt from my mother and now, together we earn Rs. 300 to Rs. 400 per day. That means about Rs. 9,000 per month. 

Also Read: USHA Silai Hero, Assam's Gouri Das Conducted Classes Even During The Covid Pandemic

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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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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.

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