Kushalta Ke Kadam
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USHA And Public Sector Undertakings Come Together To Create A Pool Of Opportunities For Women In Need

USHA And Public Sector Undertakings Come Together To Create A Pool Of Opportunities For Women In Need
New Delhi: 

The state of Jharkhand has one of the richest coal belts of the country. Popularly known as ‘Black Gold', the coal from Jharkhand feed power station across India to produce electricity that lights up millions of homes. However, many people living and working in the coalfields have been facing poverty and are struggling to put food on the table. With an aim to help these families overcome their day-to-day financial battles, a Public Sector Undertaking called Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI) has collaborated with USHA International Limited to set up 20 Silai Schools around the mining areas in Dhanbad district of Jharkhand.

Also Read: 36-Year-Old Preeti Triumphed Over Financial Battles And Became An Inspiration To Many, Thanks To USHA Silai School

Sunita Devi, a tribal woman from Paduki village in Dhanbad, is one of the thousands of coal belt residents for whom getting two square meals a day is a daily fight. A widow, she has two children to look after as well as old parents. When an opportunity arose to sign up for USHA's first training centre in collaboration with CMPDI, she took it with a hope of changing her life for better.

My husband passed away a few years ago after which I started sewing to provide for my two children. I had a small machine and could not do much with it. The Silai School has helped me learn the skill of stitching. USHA and CMPDIL have not only given me a bigger machine but also better skills and confidence and has opened new opportunities for me.. We are now being trained so we can open our own schools and train other women to earn an income.

She further said that the new sewing machine has come as a blessing for her as she was facing difficulty in using an old machine because of the pain she suffers resulting from a fracture.

As Sunita takes up the journey of becoming an entrepreneur after being a struggling seamstress for long, she targets to double her income and help her children get a better education.

Not only Sunita, but the other women at the Silai School set up by USHA-CMPDI in Dhanbad also dream about giving their children a good education and a better life. The trainers at this centre understand this dream of their learners and are focused on teaching them to make things that are high in demand like masks during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Naveen Kumar, Assistant Manager, Community Development, Nodal Officer, CSR, CMPDI, the enterprise wishes to expand the outreach under this initiative. He said,

Women account for half of our population and one aim is to increase their social and financial contribution to our society ..We need to figure out how to engage women in business-related activities. USHA has been doing this for years but it's a pilot project for us ..We will do a follow-up and see what impact it has on villages in their localities. We will take an assessment of the ground situation and execute such models in other places too.

Also Read: USHA Partners With Small Industries Development Bank Of India To Ensure Support To The Silai Entrepreneurs

Acknowledging the USHA Silai School initiative, Shekhar Sharan, chairman and MD, CMPDI said that with the help of USHA, 20 women from Govindpur block were given a machine and training. He said,

It was an effort to make these women independent and to help them. This was one initiative taken up in Govindpur area of Dhanbad, but such programs have also happened in CMPDI Ranchi campus. We will keep trying to take this initiative forward. We will keep trying to help more people and communicate our message across masses. This is a very small effort. Like every drop makes an ocean, similarly, we are doing whatever little we can. If every person and every organisation works towards this goal, we will definitely be able to leave a mark and will be successful in uplifting people from the lower-income groups.

Along with its partnership with a Public Sector Undertaking in Jharkhand, USHA collaborated with another PSU named National Building Construction Corporation Limited (NBCC) in the adjoining state of Odisha. The aim remains the same- to help women upgrade their skill and become financially independent.

A training centre was set up under this partnership in Rourkela, the industrial district of Odisha, known for its steel factory and, in the adjoining Saranda forest, the country's biggest iron ore deposits. Itwari Minsh, a resident of Dalposh village of Rourkela is a learner at NBCC-USHA's training centre. Even though she earlier had a difficult life, she never gave up hope. After joining the training along with other women, Itwari, a mother of two teenagers and a wife to daily wage labour, is an entrepreneur.

 Shanti Kholda is another woman who benefitted from this initiative. She said,

I come from Soldha block and I have two brothers and three sisters. I came here to learn to sew so that I can earn something for my family when I get back. The problem is that my father cannot do any work now so how will he run the house? That is why I am learning a new skill.

Also Read: USHA Silai School's Skill Training Has Empowered The Vulnerable Including Women Fight The Economic Crisis During COVID-19 Lockdown

All the learners in the sewing training centre will be supervised for about a year by trainers so that they make the most of their learnings. While sharing about the training programme, a trainer at this centre said,

This program spans over 12 days. We teach the learner the fundamentals of sewing and help them build confidence. With this program, they develop a pattern and learn something new. Under this collaboration, women are given machines that they can take home. We monitor these women and even visit them regularly. We see if the women have any other needs or need advanced training or if they want any guidance. We provide it to them.

According to MB Appa Rao, General Manager Incharge, CSR, Rourkela steel plant all the trainees, 45 people have been selected from the main impact area of the steel plant.

In this training, they are learning how to assemble the machine, how to fix the machine and after that, they are also given the training for teaching skills, for making ladies' garment, gents' garment and embroidery, he said.

Explaining further Paritosh Goyal, General Manager NBCC said,

A super speciality hospital is being constructed under the supervision of the Ministry of Steel and Steel Authority of India here in Rourkela. Under their CSR project, the government has decided to provide training in sewing to 90 women in total. This is being done to bring more employment in tribal villages, so women can learn and can do something in life. Not only will this project generate employment, but it will also help them improve their lifestyle and livelihood.

While talking about USHA's Silai School initiative, Rupa Tete, Vice President, USHA International Limited said that the organisation is looking after 10 states and one union territory of which they have made a breakthrough in the state of Odisha. She said,

Through government and USHA social service department's partnership, here we have done a partnership with NBCC and other stakeholder is Rourkela steel plant. What we are targeting here is skilling of 90 poor women from various villages and slums in and around Rourkela area. USHA's technical team will be intensively working with these poor women ensure they acquire all sewing skills and they're able to go back to their respective villages and earn through the skills they have acquired through this training.

Ms Tete signed off by saying that it was encouraging to see the positive response of Odisha government and public officials.

Also Read: The Women From USHA Silai School Kashmir Make It To 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 USHA Silai School and NDTV has entered its eighth season. The aim is to empower more women across rural India by teaching them sewing skills and helping them open new doors of opportunities for themselves. The initiative encourages rural women to become financially independent and entrepreneurs by taking up sewing and training others in their respective communities.


Since 2011, the USHA Silai School initiative has trained more than 12 lakh rural women through over 33,000 Silai schools, spanning over 20,751 villages across India.


The women earn Rs. 4,000 – 5,000 per month on an average, with the highest recorded monthly earning being Rs. 84,000 in a month. This earning works as a catalyst towards building their self-confidence, reducing gender inequities, and raising their stature within their families and in society at large.


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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.