The women come from an urban slum with very poor living conditions. There is widespread alcoholism, domestic violence and crime.
The programme began as a child-centred community development, with a primary school and tuition centre. The project expanded its reach to work with the children’s families and community. The community is extremely conservative and women are expected to take care of the home and their education has never been a priority.
The project addresses the need for the women to be empowered and to earn an income to create dual-income families which are necessary to combat the high cost of city living and ensure that their children have basic amenities at home.
The initiative empowers the underprivileged women of this community by providing skills training in tailoring to enable them to earn an income and support themselves and their families.
In 2015, with the support of the Australian High Commission, Kishangarh Centre started a one-year training programme focussing on imparting skills training to 150 women.
The semester training programme is functional in 3 batches of 25 women each.
Singer India Ltd became our partner and provided sewing machines at a 50% discount, recommended a teacher and provided their curriculum for a certification course. The first batch of 50 beneficiaries received their certificates in January 2016 and most of them joined the Production Unit.
The Production Unit received support from several organisations that provided free stalls: Bridal Asia, Diwali Mela, Blind School, The Australian High Commission, the French Embassy, Saket Select City Walk, and The Great India Golchakar. ILCA received tremendous exposure and got good orders for its products. Owing to the emphasis on finish, Magical Stitches frequently gets repeat orders, is recommended by past customers to their associates and has become a supplier to Fabindia.
We had a series of motivational talks by the likes of Madhavi Ganeriwala, Bina Ramani and Laila Taiabji. These were eye-openers to the beneficiaries and generated tremendous awareness of what they could do with their own lives.
To support their domestic demands, a nursery and crèche were started at the school to enable stay-at-home housewives to attend the adult education classes through Samarpan School, Kishangarh, and empowerment programmes which includes the opening of private bank accounts for all the women in the production unit.
Beneficiaries are also provided with a hot lunch, snacks and medical supplements. The health of all the beneficiaries has improved to the extent that there is hardly any absenteeism due to ill health.