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With Corporate Partnerships, USHA Silai School Is Leaving No Stone Unturned To Empower Women

With Corporate Partnerships, USHA Silai School Is Leaving No Stone Unturned To Empower Women
New Delhi: 

“We are a five-member family that was completely dependent on farming for a livelihood. But farming is not reliable and we struggled a lot. But I got a ray of hope when I got selected for USHA Silai School programme. The course was very helpful and now I am contributing to the household income with the help of the skill of stitching I leant at the silai school,” said Rekhamoni Bora, a 45-year-old resident of a village is in Dibrugarh district of Assam. Ms. Bora who lives with her husband, two children and mother-in-law, is now able to earn Rs. 3500 per month on an average which is helping the family meet their livelihood expense to a great extent.

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

With an aim to help the women like Rekhamoni Bora overcome their struggles, USHA Silai School partnered with NEEPCO (North Eastern Electric Power Corporation) - a power generation company in the North-Eastern region of the country, Dalmia Bharat Foundation- a not-for-profit organization under Dalmia Bharat Group and Alfa Laval- a Swedish Company found in 1883.

It was when NEEPCO in partnership with USHA came forward to support her family as part of their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) programme that Ms. Bora got to know about the silai school. She appeared for the interview and got selected. While speaking to NDTV she said,

I was always interested in tailoring. I took lessons but couldn't complete my course as commuting was a problem. After my marriage in 2016, I trained under the USHA Silai programme. I undertook a seven-day course. I learnt a lot. I also received a certificate and a banner to open my own Silai school which I opened in my house. I have 15-20 students. We charge a fee of Rs. 300 from every student. I also get a lot of orders so I am able to earn a decent income.

Manorama Deka Sonowal, a resident of Kathalguri village in Dibrugarh district of Assam is another beneficiary of NEEPCO-USHA partnership. Ms. Sonowal had to discontinue her studies during the second year of her graduation and was married off. Her husband, who is a driver by profession was not earning much and the situation became stressful after the birth of their daughter. Ms. Sonowal started tutoring some children in the village from which she was able to earn only Rs. 1,000. On a fateful day, she met a member of the panchayat of her village and expressed her willingness to set up a tailoring unit. So when NEEPCO approached the village to train women stitching, the panchayat member submitted her name as one of the beneficiaries. After taking the residential training for seven days at NEEPCO auditorium, she not started her own Silai School but also took stitching as her profession. Robin Sonowal, Husband Of Manorama Sonowal, husband of Ms. Sonowal said,

Earlier I was the only earning member in the family. My meagre income could only feed us, and we could manage to save. Ever since my wife took sewing lessons, she has been contributing to the family income. She earns half. I earn the rest. We are doing well now. She uses her income to build our house, I use mine to feed our family. One person's earnings were not enough to meet our financial needs.

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

Along with women in Dibrugarh district, USHA Silai School is also training women in Morigaon district of Assam. In Morigaon, USHA had partnered with Dalima Bharat Foundation. This partnership aims to open 20 silai schools across the district. Benefitting from this collaboration is Binu Deka Doloi, who opened her own silai school in March, 2018. This has changed the life of Ms Doloi who is married to a farmer. She said,

Farming is not a fixed, steady source of income. We have recurring floods and dry seasons in the area. We lose crops in the extremely wet and extremely dry seasons because of which we struggled to meet our expenses when our crops fail which made it hard to feed the family and pay my daughter's school fee. Even if I cannot compensate entirely for crop losses, I earn enough to feed my family and pay my daughter's school fee.

After developing skills of women of Assam in the Northeast, USHA Silai School initiative went to Maharashtra in the western peninsular region of the country. In Maharashtra, USHA collaborated with Alfa Laval and started a 'Training cum Production Centre' for the women of Velvand village in Pune district. This training and production centre has become a source of livelihood and hopes for women in this remote village as they did not have any other source of livelihood before USHA Silai School started its initiative. Women, at this centre, are being provided with training on stitching clothes for men, women and children along with uniforms for schools and corporations. Nishant Shrivastava, Vice President, Alfa Laval said,

Alfa Laval and USHA have tried to set up a sustainable model so that these women can learn and earn their living from here otherwise they were just doing paddy cultivation here.

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

For some women like Ashwini Hemant Gore, the centre is almost an hour's walk from her home but she makes it to the place, in time, everyday to learn and earn. He said,

Living in this village causes a lot of problems for my children. They face difficulties with their studies. I decided that if I do something then my children will benefit from it. I have spent my life in this area but at least I can provide my children an education and send them to city. I can make dresses. I used to stitch blouses but I didn't know how to stitch dresses nor pants and shirts. I learned all that after joining the training programme. I earn around Rs. 8,000-Rs. 9,000 per month. USHA and Alfa Laval have helped me a lot.

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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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