Every weekend, six girls from the Swami Dayananda AIM for Seva Adivasi Chatralayam for Girls, Bodidra village, Panchmahal district, Gujarat go to Smt. Meenaben Poonam Bhai Sharma’s tailoring unit located in Godhra, Gujarat to learn tailoring. The hostel is home to 20 girls.
The classes have been going on for one year now and the girls come in every Saturday and Sunday afternoon to learn the nitty gritties related to tailoring. So far, the girls aged 13 to 14 years have learnt the basics like stitching of dresses for infants and repairing of clothes.
Tailoring is one of the important extracurricular activity taught to students from rural India who are in our Chatralayam network. Moving from west to south, our girls residing at the Bhavani Arun AIM for Seva Chatralayam for Girls, Chinnasalem, Tamil Nadu are also showing lot of interest in tailoring and classes are being conducted for them during the weekends.
Even though readymade and ready to wear is the order of the day, Smt. Meenaben feels that tailoring is an important skill that can open up avenues for girls from under privileged backgrounds. “They can start small by setting up a unit in their own villages and home towns. This is a useful skill especially when it comes to mending and darning of garments. Also, there is a premium attached to hand crafted clothing and it teaches them to be self reliant,” she says.
Smt. Meenaben goes on to narrate her own tryst with tailoring. She grew up in Dehradun and marriage brought her to Godhra, Gujarat 32 years back. “I did a two year tailoring course from ITI (Industrial Training Institute), Dehradun in 1979. After marriage, I got busy in raising my kids.” Almost 35 years after she completed her ITI course in tailoring, Smt. Meenaben took to pins and needles again by opening a small tailoring unit in her husband’s office premises. Her husband and son are in the retail furniture space.
AIM for Seva also runs three tailoring centres in Dehradun where girls from the Garhwal hills are taught tailoring – the course lasts a year. This helps them to take their first steps towards financial independence.