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It's A Race Against Time For Rohit Bal's Team Of Kashmiri Women Stitching Clothes For The Lakme Fashion Week

It's A Race Against Time For Rohit Bal's Team Of Kashmiri Women Stitching Clothes For The Lakme Fashion Week
Delhi: 

Kashmir's striking beauty fails to hide its grave reality. Among various issues that the state is grappling with, literacy rate, especially among women is a cause of concern. And then there is the issue of unemployment. Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy Report 2017, noted that Jammu and Kashmir had the highest unemployment rate in India, just above 12 per cent - higher than the national average at the time of 4.7 per cent. The prolonged violence in the state has prevented girls and women from stepping out of their homes for decades.

The Usha Silai School initiative forayed into Kashmir in 2012 to set up a training centre to tap into the state's talent pool and give some of its women an avenue to become self-reliant. What began as a small initiative to train women to stitch clothes, took a larger than life dimension for these women, when the trainees at the Silai school became a part of the Silai Label movement in 2018.

USHA's very own fashion label 'Silai' gives a big push to the humble dreams of many women from rural areas who have been trained at USHA Silai Schools. For the creation of the label, women from the Silai schools were given an opportunity to enhance their skills and 32 women were selected to be mentored by professional fashion designers. 

Also Read: Silai School Opens Up An Opportunity For Women In Kashmir To Be Part Of The Lakme Fashion Week

As part of the Silai label, few women from the Jammu and Kashmir production unit will be selected after a rigorous assessment process. These select few will then work with ace designer Rohit Bal to stitch the clothes he will showcase at the Lakme Fashion Week.

The journey has not been an easy one, yet the women brought themselves one step closer to having their clothes shown at the Lakme Fashion Week, with the ace fashion designer Rohit Bal and his team working to train the women and guiding them every step of the way. The shortlisted women were made to travel to Delhi for the first time, for the assessment of the samples made by them.

The assessment was done by Rohit Bal himself and the women did not disappoint him. He was impressed with what the women achieved during their training to replicate some of the samples sent by him. In the ace designer's words, the team did an exceptional job to meet his expectations and whatever scope for improvement remained; he had no doubts that these women had the capability to match the quality standards he aspires for.

Post the Delhi visit, the journey of their dreams was well and truly underway. The hard work resumed once they returned to Kashmir for the next stage – the final production and the ladies had a lot of ground to cover.

That's when Chilai Kalan approached, the 40 day period, when winter is at its harshest in Kashmir. People in the valley face extreme hardships during these 40 days as the region is gripped by intense cold with high chances of snowfall and rain and the minimum temperature dropping to as low as minus 4.4 degree Celsius.

Also Read: Silai School Opens Up An Opportunity For Women In Kashmir To Be Part Of The Lakme Fashion Week

It was in the middle of this adverse weather conditions that the production for Rohit Bal's line began at the Usha Silai School in Srinagar. The harsh weather in the valley was adding up to the existing challenges of a stiff timeline of delivering the products. With time already running out, an addition to the existing work load emerged; a requirement of 10 more samples was made.

Given the unavoidable circumstances, the team decided to shift the production from Srinagar to Gurugram (Gurgaon) near Delhi. Shifting the production centre proved to be a good decision, the work picked up pace and it helped the production get to the final stage faster.

Just a couple of days remained before the final garments are sent to Rohit Bal's studio, and their creators move closer to the dream of taking center stage at the Lakme Fashion Week 2019.

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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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