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Proud That I Can Teach A Skill To Poor Village Women And Help Them Become Self-Reliant: Rintu Gogoi

Proud That I Can Teach A Skill To Poor Village Women And Help Them Become Self-Reliant: Rintu Gogoi
Sibsagar: 360 Km North East of capital Guwahati in Assam, is Sibsagar. One of the 32 districts of the state, Sibsagar is known for the ruins and monuments from the Ahom Kingdom, as also its tea gardens. Yet, as picturesque as Assam's tea gardens are, the problems faced by the state are just as glaring. From political, economic to social issues, Assam is plagued by poverty and illiteracy. For many of its families surviving on bare minimum is a challenge. For some farming is the only source of income but that too is never sufficient to sustain a household.

Rintu Gogoi's is a similar story. Wife of an agricultural labourer and mother of two boys, her husband was the sole earning member of the family. Running the house itself was a struggle, let alone saving up for school fees for their two sons.

Since, the entire family was solely dependent on farming activities, which didn't yield enough to meet their basic demands, Rintu's husband had picked up part-time work as a daily wage earner. But their hardships continued unabated.

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

It was then that a local NGO worker, Krishak Nyas, urged Rintu to join the USHA Silai School Program.

Krishak Nyas helped me enroll in the USHA training program in Jamugiri in Sibsagar District, said Rintu. After completing a 7-day sewing and embroidery training program, she started her own Silai school in 2013.


"The students pay me Rs 200 admission fees and Rs 300 monthly fees," said Rintu who has, till now trained over 55 women and young girls of her village.

Sometimes earning nearly Rs. 8000 per month, Rintu has managed  to stabilise the financial situation of her family and has even started an additional service of repairing sewing machines.
 
kushalta ke kadam rintu gogoi assam
When asked what she does with her earnings, Rintu exuded a sense of contentment in being able to provide for her family. "With my earnings, I run the house, buy essentials for the school, and make purchases during festivals" she said.

Her skills were recently recognised by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), who sponsored her to conduct 15-day sewing and embroidery training in her district. Now she has educated her two sons who have each started their own small businesses. As the workload in the school has increased, Rintu has even hired employees to help her run her classes.

"I have five women working for me and one boy who helps me with the stitching work. We stitch salwar kameez, saree and mekhla chadar" she said.

So now Rintu has become a full time entrepreneur who is not only generating extra income for her household but also generating employment. Rintu says,

I am proud that I can teach a skill to poor village women and help them become self-reliant. 


She has gained respect for being a confident, self-reliant woman and is seen as an ideal role model for other women. Her reputation in the village has also enabled her to get loans from banks. "I have taken four loans from Bandhan so far, of Rs. 20,000 each. I have spent that money to set up the school and rebuild my house in phases. Each year, I buy some raw materials for the house," she said.
 

Banks see my certificate and sanction the loan with minimum hassle. So, I hope to make more room in my school and buy a few more machines, so that I can take more orders.


USHA Silai School Program helped Rintu to not just hone her sewing skills but also to engage in smart activities that increased her income and provided her financial stability which many women from Assam's poor districts lack.

Also Read: After She Lost Her Son Kalpana Kamadi Decided To Reinvent Herself

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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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  • Shaila Khubchandani

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