Whom did Priyanka Felicitate?

Priyanka Chopra Felicitates USHA Silai School WomenRecently the gorgeous Priyanka Chopra felicitated two USHA Silia School Women at The HAB by Usha, under the Usha Initiatives programme. We all do know who Priyanka is, but what about the two women – Kamar Shaheen and Ms Shivnanada Nagnathrao Kothurwad – she acknowledged for their will towards self-independence? This is their story…

Ms Shivnanada Nagnathrao Kothurwad story could be termed as ‘noir’ if this was fiction, but since truth is stranger than fiction ‘tragic’ is the appropriate word. But the real message of the story is about ‘one’s will to rise above the dire circumstances that fate hands out to us.’ Like a twisted fairy tale it begins with a wedding: She believed that her marriage arranged by her parents would pave the way for her happiness and prosperity in future. But little did Shivnananda or her parents know that she was marrying a person who though professionally a local school teacher, also had a criminal record under section 306 of the Indian Penal Code.

Ms Shivnanada Nagnathrao Kothurwad

Ms Shivnanada Nagnathrao Kothurwad

Thus all hell broke loose in the life of Shivnanda after the marriage. The criminal in the husband began to show his real face with time. Incidences of domestic violence started increasing as time passed with the husband subjecting her to assault and battery for small reasons. There were even three attempts when her husband tried to murder her! Shivnanda had no choice but to run away from the criminal of a husband. She moved to her parents’ home (only as a paying guest) with her 2 young children to Sultanpur village in Nanded district of Maharashtra.

She resolved not to give up and wanted to be economically independent for her children and herself. Her husband had refused any financial support to the children or her. The USHA Silai School initiative came at the most appropriate opportunity for her. She started informing the community about the Silai Schools and gradually due to her expertise she gained popularity through word of mouth and over a period of 1 year she has taught more than 20 learners charging a minimum of Rs 150/- per month. Moreover her job work in the Silai Schools helps her to earn an approximate of Rs 100-150/- per day. Today her income has increased to Rs 6000-7000/- a month. In her own words, Shivnananda puts in, “the income from the Silai School has helped me to send my children to schools and I would like to thank Usha for giving me this opportunity”

The Silai School at Sultanpur village has helped an enterprising woman like Shivnanda come out of the clutches of poverty.  By refusing to go back to her criminal husband she has protected her own life and USHA Silai School has helped her sustain an independent and honorable life.

Creations by Shivnanada

Creations by Shivnanada

Unlike Shivnanada, Kamar Shaheen’s story lacks the darker shades of human nature, however it is one again of abject poverty and the will to rise above it. She is from an interior village called Bilora in Amravati district of Maharashtra. Daughter of a fruit seller and housewife, Shaheen and her family spent her childhood in acute poverty. However, her parents ensured that Shaheen attended the local village school to complete her Class XIIth.

Untitled-1 copyDuring her schooldays, she developed a penchant for sewing and stitching from her mother. This preliminary skill learnt from her mother and her determination to come out of economic hardships made her one of the best potential candidates for starting the Usha Silai School in her village. When the Usha’s local NGO partner contacted her, she was enthusiastic about the programme. With a resolve to succeed in this endeavor, Shaheen started her own Usha Silai School in Feb 2012 after being trained.

Gradually, the Silai School gained momentum and girls from near and far started attending her Silai School. Today, there are about 20 learners enrolled in her Silai School. Her income now is approximately Rs 5000/- per month. During festive seasons of Ramzan and marriage seasons her earnings go up to a minimum Rs 250 to 300/- per day from the job work she gets. Usha Silai Schools have helped her achieve her dream of economic independence.

To Know More Visit: www.ushainitiatives.com

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