In A Bid To Empower Women, USHA Silai School Reaches Remotest Islands And Villages
Updated: April 16, 2019 18:31 IST
With 17,000 Silai Schools, Usha Silai School program has upskilled and empowered over 3 lakh women across 9,000 villages of India. Now, the program has reached remotest islands and villages of India. Here is a story of four empowered women from Sundarbans, Lakshadweep, and Andaman, driven by the ambition to change their lives and find their purpose enriched.
Meet Monika Bijung, a single mother of three children (two daughters and a son), from Andaman and Nicobar Islands who has overcome all her hardships on her own. 10 years ago when Monika's husband left her and their children, Monika contemplated suicide, but somehow she managed to tap into her creative side - sewing and joined USHA Silai School program.
After undergoing seven days of training in Andaman for opening her own Silai School, she started giving lessons to other women and girls. Till date, she has taught 150 individuals and on an average earns Rs. 10,000 per month.
Having defied all odds, Monika is a role model for her children. Now she wants to visit the USHA Hab, an institute in Mumbai and undergo a one to two days workshop on new designs and embroidery work.
Here is a story of Shakeela Bibi, one of the tiger widows whose husband passed away 10 years ago in a tiger attack in Sundarban's Jhingekhali Island. While Shakeela, a mother of three had to don the hat of breadwinner to run her family, her daughter left her studies to take care of the two brothers. With the passage of time, Shakeela's sons too dropped out of school to earn and feed their family whereas Shakeela continued doing fishing which would fetch her Rs. 20 - 25 per day.
Shakeela used to practice sewing in her ancestor's house and was partially skilled in tailoring which helped her in getting a sewing machine and training from USHA in 2018. Today, she imparts training to 6-7 learners and works for a local factory to make ‘Kantha' (a two layered cloth blanket, popular in rural Bengal).
While the sewing job brings her Rs. 1500-2000 every month, fishing adds Rs. 500-700 in her monthly income.
Namita Gayen, is another struggling tiger widow in Sundarbans. 17 years ago, when Namita's husband passed away, she was left with nothing but a 10-year-old son, nine months daughter, also a special child, and a shock.
To sustain her family and provide education to her children, Namita had to move out of the house in search of work. Being the only bread earner in the family, Namita would take all kinds of work.
When USHA offered a week-long tailoring course, Namita underwent the training session and within a week she started her own silai school with five students. Today, she is involved in making Kantha and other work as per the demand and earns Rs. 3000 - 3500 every month.
29-year-old Shabana, a resident of Agatti Island of Lakshwadeep, has always faced financial difficulty, courtesy irregular income from her job and designing work. The lack of financial stability makes it difficult for Shabana to run her house and feed her two children. Also, her husband who works at the ship stays away from his family for six months straight.
To overcome the issue, in 2016, Shabana underwent a seven days training offered by USHA Silai School and later started her own silai school. Currently, 24 students are being trained in Shabana's school, providing her steady income to take care of children's education and basic needs.
Today, Shabana is independent and confident of her skills and plans to start her own boutique.