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Stitching As Her Weapon, Pratibha Takes On Life's Challenges

Stitching As Her Weapon, Pratibha Takes On Life's Challenges
Sakri Tehsil, Maharashtra: Pratibha Pravin Khonde, a resident of Sakri Tehsil of Dhule district in Maharashtra defied all the challenges, took charge of her life and transformed it. Armed with self-determination, will power and hard work she is now changing the lives of other women in her village. Life came to a standstill for Pratibha when her husband, Pravin, a barber by profession, was diagnosed with a serious health condition and had to be hospitalised. The financial condition of the family was in shambles. With no money to pay for her husband's treatment, Pratibha was left with no option but to borrow from her relatives.

Deep in debt, the financial situation worsened when Pravin couldn't get back to work due to his health condition. Piling debts combined with fear for her son's future, forced Pratibha to step out of the confines of her domestic life and hunt for work. Around the same time she came across the Usha Silai School programme and got herself enrolled. During the seven days training period she developed a passion for sewing and honed her skills for stitching.

With the free sewing machine given by the Silai School Pratibha started stitching clothes and earn a steady income. After some time she started her own school within her house. The aim was not only to make extra money but also to enable other women to earn their own livelihood. Many of Pratibha's students are now teaching other women and becoming financially independent.

With increasing number of women joining her Silai school to learn, Pratibha's income increased and she now earns around Rs 7,000-8,000 per month. With her earnings she is paying for her husband's treatment and gradually paying off her debts.  

Currently, Pravin is still recovering from his illness and Pratibha is the sole earning member of the household. It is not easy for someone like Pratibha to break the shackles of societal norms that is steeped in patriarchy and to fight the mindset that the rightful place of a woman is within the four walls of her house, looking after her family. In the face of adversity, it becomes harder not only to fight the battle within of survival but also to taken on and shake the deep rooted biases and beliefs of the world outside. Pratibha has managed to do both, with her determination, hard work and skill she has indeed set an example and given hope to many other women in her village and brought about a change for future generations to follow.
 

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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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