When a Sewing Machine helped Lalita stitch her Life Back Together

Who knew that the four walls which once confined Lalita to the daily rut of domestic routine, could become her portal to economic liberation, only with the addition of two sewing machines? 

All hell broke loose when Lalita’s husband lost his job, leaving his family in a quandary on how to make the ends meet. The entire responsibility of running the household now fell on Lalita’s able shoulders, who found vocational training sessions run by NTPC Vindhyachal and the NGO SEWA in her search to become financially independent. 

40-year-old Lalita, who is raising four children with her husband, joined the tailoring and stitching vocational course in October 2018. After completing her training, Lalita managed to earn Rs 3,000-5,000 every month by tailoring clothes for the people living in her neighbourhood. A sound entrepreneur, Lalita also set aside a part of her earnings every month to invest in a second stitching machine. She now plans to expand her business, which is currently stationed in her mother’s room, by passing on the skill of stitching to her eldest daughter, who has completed her formal education. Her daughter is currently pursuing beauty culture training being provided NTPC Vindhyachal, in collaboration with SEWA. Lalita wants to invest the money to provide quality education to her two school-going children, who are now studying in DePaul School, Vindhyanagar. She dreams of eventually owning a house, with a dedicated room for her tailoring business. 

“I believe that I have received a rebirth, a second chance in life. When I first entered the training centre, I felt that the skill was beyond my grasp. But with unwavering handheld support from our teacher, tailoring has become an inseparable and cherished part of my life. From staying at home and wondering how to make my days count, to being able to not only run the household by myself but also fulfil the desires of my children, my life has changed completely. And I have only NTPC Vindhyachal and SEWA to thank for it. Watching me thrive, the women in my family also wish to join the vocational training courses being provided under this initiative,” exclaimed Lalita, overcome with emotions.

Lalita is one of the many women hailing from 24 villages of Singrauli district who have benefitted from this initiative, which is aimed at creating sustainable livelihood opportunities for women and helping them lead a dignified life. Vocational training in tailoring and stitching, terracotta pottery making, detergent making and agarbatti making was provided to help over 180 women break the shackles of patriarchal determinism in the first phase of this project. In the second phase, vocational training is being imparted in the fields of Tailoring and Stitching, Beauty Culture, Terracotta Pottery and Jewelry Making, Dona Pattal Making, Sanitary Pads Making, Bed Side Nursing, Basic Computer Literacy Training, Mushroom Cultivation, and Catering and Cooking.

The initiative has impacted the lives of a total of 7,000 community members through Awareness Camps, Community Meetings, Soochna Kendras and door-to-door campaigns. In order to facilitate the self-sustainability of women, over 1200 financial and digital literacy sessions were administered to 113 women and girls, wherein they were acquainted with the tenants of financial management and were given the knowhow on how to use ATMs and net banking applications among other topics. 

A multitude of awareness camps were organised under this initiative to inform community members regarding the various government Social Welfare Schemes and help them avail their benefit. Further, registration camps were organised for the unorganized sector, wherein labourers were linked with government welfare schemes. The camps reached out to a total of 3,151 community members, and the applications of 1,032 members for social welfare schemes were processed and passed to the beneficiaries. Further, 9 Soochna Kendras have been set-up to aid members of the community in getting their government identity documents made. 

NTPC Vindhyachal and SEWA are working tirelessly to ensure that the women of Singrauli discover their financial identity in a way that they never have to feel like the lesser sex or be at the mercy of someone else to sustain themselves. 

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