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In Odisha, USHA And NGO Gram Utthan Are Empowering Women By Providing Employment Opportunities

Nearly 2,500 kilometres away from Kargil, in the village of Uparbeda, in Mayurbhanj, Odisha, Salma Hemram starts her day by feeding the cows. Salma lives a few houses away from the paternal house of the President of India, Draupadi Murmu. Tending to the cattle has been Salma's daily routine for the past 12 years, but now with non-governmental organisation Gram Utthan and USHA, new avenues of employment have opened up for her. She is getting trained at the USHA Silai center, along with 15 other women. The training programme takes into account the special needs and customs of tribal women.

Salma Hemram, a Trainee at USHA Silai school said,

The executives from USHA came to my village. I applied for the training in stitching and filled the form and I got selected. I submitted the form but was unsure if I would get selected. I don't know how, but I got selected and I am very happy about my acceptance into the training programme. Currently, I am being trained in stitching here at the centre. This has made me aware of how to get ahead in life. I will also teach these skills to ladies in my village.

The process of reaching out to the women, to include them in the USHA Silai school training programme, was not easy. The NGO Gram Utthan had to prepare a list of the women who might benefit from the training the most, in consultation with the head of the village.

NGO Gram Utthan is working with USHA for the past 11 years in helping ladies from villages move ahead in life and make a meaningful change in their lives. Guru Prasad Mohanty, Program Manager, Gram Utthan said,

We select women based on a little prior knowledge of sewing and their interest in opening a Silai school. Then we go door-to-door to meet these women. We make a shortlist and share it with USHA. Once the list of selected candidates is finalised, we organise the training. Once the trained women open their Silai schools, we monitor their progress regularly in terms of how many women they have taught, and how much money they are earning. This report is shared with USHA.

Usually, only one woman is selected from one village. For this process, USHA meets two to three women, who have shown interest in sewing, at one house. In the meeting, the women are explained how the training will change their lives and will how it will provide them with a better tomorrow. A form is shared seeking basic information and simple answers regarding their interest and knowledge about USHA and sewing. After this assessment, the selected candidates become eligible for this training.

Bijayanand Dash, State Program Manager at USHA Social Services, said,

We planned to organise a training for the tribal women in the Mayurbhanj area. We asked Gram Utthan NGO to help select women and we will train them. We started a training centre in the Kusumi block of Mayurbhanj.

USHA Silai schools have helped lakhs of women carve a niche for themselves and become self-sufficient despite being from the remotest of areas. It is nothing short of a revolution that empowers women through economic opportunities and gives them a sense of self-worth.

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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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