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After She Lost Her Son Kalpana Kamadi Decided To Reinvent Herself

After She Lost Her Son Kalpana Kamadi Decided To Reinvent Herself
Dhule, Maharashtra: Dhule is currently the sixth poorest district of Maharashtra. Apart from poor Human Development Index, the district also has the highest percentage of girls getting married below the age of 18 years, a big reason for high rate of dropouts from school. Lack of education, limited employment opportunity and poverty is what defines the lives of most inhabitants of this district. Kalpana Kamadi, a resident of this region, has had similar struggles of her own. Sustaining her modest household needs became a daily worry and making ends meet was a constant battle. Poverty struck hard when her son fell ill and had to be hospitalised. Kalpana and her husband could not afford the treatment and failed to foot the medical bills. They soon lost their son.

"We realised the importance of money because at that time (during her son's illness) I was running everywhere but I could not collect enough money to save my son.

After her son's demise, Kalpana and her husband decided to work as labourers. When working as part-time laborers didn't help their financial situation either, she enrolled herself for the USHA Silai School training. A community based initiative, USHA Silai School aims to turn village women into entrepreneurs and teach sewing in their respective communities. The initiative trains over 10,000 women every day across India.

The training not only enabled her to start her own sewing school where she began training more women in her village but it also gave her the opportunity to attain things which she was deprived of earlier.

"Earlier I used to be at home at all times. Even for going to market, I would have to ask for money from my husband and that wouldn't be sufficient either."

Once Kalpana started her own Silai school, she charged Rs. 500 to 600 (approximately) per student and taught them to sew blouses for women. Selling blouses became another source of income for her.

"Till date, I have earned Rs.1.5 lakhs (approximately). Now I also own a car for which I pay the installments from my own earnings."

From being someone who has never had her own bank account, Kalpana today maintains her own savings account. Becoming an entrepreneur, she now feels empowered and takes pride in being financially independent.

"There was a time when no one would respect a woman in my village. We were just supposed to be at home and cook for our families. Now, I have created my own identity and people call me 'madam'," says Kalpana.

Looking back, the only regret Kalpana has is not having had this opportunity earlier.

"Now I wish I had this money when my son was unwell. I could have saved him. I have the money now but nothing can bring him back," laments Kalpana, who hopes more young women get sewing training and have a chance to fight poverty and live a self-sufficient life.
 

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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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