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

'I Want To Improve Condition Of My Family, Educate My Children,' Says Chhotibai
Dhule, Maharashtra: In 2006, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Dhule, a small district in Maharashtra, as one of the country's 250 most backward districts. Being the sixth poorest district in the state, it is currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme. Living in this district is a woman named Chhotibai Sahebrao Chaure who, for the last five years, has been running her own Silai school. Chhotibai's family consists of 30 members that is more mouths to fill than the meagre income from farming can support. Her children ended up suffering the most as school fees was a luxury the family could ill-afford. There were hardly any savings for sending children to school.

"Earlier, my financial condition was very weak. My family would only depend on the produce we would get from farming but there was hardly any profit coming in when it didn't rain."
 
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Under such trying circumstances, Chhotibai decided to enroll herself for her first USHA Silai School training class. USHA Silai School, a community based initiative, aims to empower village women to become entrepreneurs and teach sewing in their respective communities. More than one per cent from the sale of every Usha Sewing Machine is invested into this programme. More than 10,000 women are being trained every day under this initiative.

"Usha Silai School was my only hope to earn more money. With the money that I would earn, I wanted to pay for my children's school fees," says Chhotibai.

The training she received did help her to stand on her own feet as soon after Chhotibai started her own silai school using USHA sewing machines.

"I have been conducting the (sewing) classes for 5 years and have earned approximately Rs 2 lakh till now."

Like many other women in the village, Chhotibai didn't have her own bank account before she started holding these classes. "Now, I have my own bank account. I am also able to provide for my family and ensure their needs are met,"says the proud mother.
 
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"The income of our family is coming from my wife's earnings" says Chhotibai's husband who takes pride in the fact that his wife too is an earning member of the house.

"My work has changed my life and if I had not been doing this then my children would have never gone to good schools and have the opportunity to get educated. They would have become farmers too," says Chhotibai.

She hopes that more women take training from her and start their own small business so they too can provide their children with a better life.

"I want to improve the condition of my family. I wanted to educate my children and train other women so that they progress too," says Chhotibai. "I want them to progress the way I did and that is my aim for the next two years."
 

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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.

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