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Kushalta Ke Kadam: Meet Kusum Devi, Master Of Sujani, An Ancient Form Of Embroidery From Bihar

Kushalta Ke Kadam: Meet Kusum Devi, Master Of Sujani, An Ancient Form Of Embroidery From Bihar
New Delhi: 

The USHA Silai School program is skilling artists and craftspeople in traditional stitching and sewing techniques so as to keep India's rich and diverse crafts heritage from dying. It is also restoring the dying hopes and dreams of marginalised women. Kusum Devi of Hasanpur, Bihar, a master of an ancient form of embroidery called Sujani, is one such woman who fought against all odds to make a name for herself.

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

After her family abandoned her, Kusum was found by the Bhojpur Mahila Kala Kendra that helped her get liberated from her miseries. The Bhojpur Mahila Kala Kendra or BMKK, with the help of the USHA Silai school, gave Kusum Devi a purpose. She now has her own Silai school. While talking about her journey she said,

Earlier, my family's condition was very poor. We were financially so weak, that we could not do anything. I joined the Bhojpur Mahila Kala Kendra. I learnt a lot of work there. I started my own Silai Centre in 2015. I teach girls at home, and we are also getting machines. Once I trained the girls, I applied my knowledge to start Sujani embroidery work at home.

Sujani is an ancient form of embroidery from Bihar. Sujani breaks up into ‘Su' which means facilitating, and ‘jani' which means birth. Quilts are made by stitching together colourful patches of old clothes and then Sujani embroidery was done with colourful threads to create motifs and designs. Explaining more about Sujani art form, Anita Gupta, Secretary, Bhojpur Mahila Kala Kendra,

Sujani is an art form that our grandmothers used to practice. It is an ancient craft, which is slowly losing its identity. Mothers would produce items with Sujani to send with their daughters when they got married. We wanted to take this art form beyond this practice, and to the whole world. With this aim in mind, we are giving trainings in the art of Sujani, so that the craft never dies.

Also Read: USHA Silai Mobile App Enhancing Skills, Augmenting Income Of The Silai Women

With help of Bhojpur Mahila Kala Kendra and the USHA Silai School initiative, Kusuma Devi has turned her life around. She was already an expert in Sujani, and the USHA Silai school program trained her in sewing and stitching as well. Now Kusum Devi is skilling other women too. She said,

I joined USHA, and they started sending me to train others. They would tell me to go and teach other women, and also earn for myself. USHA is really good. Because of them, my financial condition has improved and I have made huge progress. I had a small house, and have now purchased a bigger one, I teach all the girls and women there.

The USHA Silai school program has not just given women new skills, it has also provided Kusum Devi and her students a platform to sell their products. Kusum said,

When we receive orders, we supply them with our Sujani work. The smaller pieces go for Rs. 4,000, and the bigger ones are for Rs. 5,000. It is profitable for us. All the material is sold outside. I have travelled to a lot of places, Goa, Mumbai, Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi.

Women like Kusum Devi are ‘Silai heroes' in more ways than one. Not only are they a crucial link in keeping alive the dying art forms like Sujani, they are also helping empower other women in their villages with self-confidence and resilience.

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

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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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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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  • Sayantan Sarkar

    Sayantan Sarkar

  • Shaila Khubchandani

    Shaila Khubchandani

  • Sreejith Jeevan

    Sreejith Jeevan

  • Swati Vijaivargie

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Fashion Designers This Season

More
  • Rohit Bal

    Rohit Bal

  • Sayantan Sarkar

    Sayantan Sarkar

  • Shaila Khubchandani

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  • Sreejith Jeevan

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  • Swati Vijaivargie

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