Among the Top Ten Commandments enforced by traditional and regressive backward-looking rural Indian communities the first duly states “Thou (women) shall do all hard labour at home and fields, while men being the bread earner will dictate the 9 other rules!”
Usha Initiatives through its Silai Schools are not just about sewing and tailoring, one of its primary aims through these training programmes is to break this unholy sacrament forged unjustly by a misogynist society. Not to blog our own trumpet, but Usha Initiative has thus far succeeded in its own little ways, helping women to transgress gender roles every now and then.
The story of Mrs. Saroj Namdew, a resident of Satlapur village of Raisen district in Madhya Pradesh, is one such. She belongs to an OBC family. A mother of three – one daughter and two sons. Her household spiraled down towards chaos and poverty when her husband lost his job during one of the company retrenchments. However Saroj did not take to self pity or the village commandments, instead she stepped up to improve her family’s condition by joining a Usha Silai School training programme and later opening one on her own at home.
She recalls ““Pati ke naukri jaane ke baad, hamare pariwar ki stithi bahut kharab ho gayi thi, fir maine soch liya ki mujhe apne pariwar ke liye kuchh karna hai aur tab main NIWCYD ke pramod bhaiya se mili aur USHA company ki madad se silai traning maine liya” (after my husband lost his job, my family condition became very bad. Then I resolved to do something for my family. With the help of NIWCYD and USHA I attended the sewing and stitching training)
Over the course of time she has trained over 30 women and even started her own tailoring business. However her greatest achievement lies in motivating her husband to learn sewing and stitching. Initially her husband was reluctant to undertake this task. After much persuasion, he agreed to get trained under her! Today both husband and wife work in the Silai School and their income is about Rs 5000/- a month.
Mohini’s story is a similar one. A twenty eight year old, mother of a 4 year old son she hails from Delitalai village in Bikaner district of Rajasthan. Her husband works as a cleaner in a nearby NGO earning a meager amount – not enough to support a family of three. After attending the Silai School Programme under Usha Initiatives, today Mohini, is not just an Usha Silai School teacher but she is also running an NFE Centre. And o’course is the chief bread earner of the family.
There are many such other inspiring stories where women have broken gender barriers to take destiny in their own hands. In the video below we present a testimonial by another such woman:
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