For the longest time, Ankita* knew she wanted to stitch. Unfortunately, she was never given the opportunity. Every time the village would sit together at the one house that had a television, Ankita would longingly look at the clothes people wore in the movies and wished that she could stitch them. She wondered if this dream could ever become a reality. Fortunately for her, a group from Tata Power, who was visiting the area offered her the opportunity to be part of the company's Dhaaga project.
Through the project, Ankita met Rashida Suleman Qureshi, who immediately recognised the talent the younger girl possessed. Qureshi told Ankita to hone her skills through a three-month-long project.
Dhaaga is a women enterprise created to facilitate skilling for garment and handicraft making. Women make products ranging from kurtis and wrap arounds to palazzos and handbags. It will be a partnership model with sustainable market linkages. Through this initiative, 500 women in 45 villages have been empowered by social enterprise in handmade garments.
Quereshi says that the Dhaaga team began training the girls how to stitch. The project started with training 10 women in the first batch, and looking at the success, the batch size doubled during the second batch. "Through the training programme, they learnt to make kurtis, palazzos and handbags. We had a three-month training workshop for the same," she said, adding that the girls worked hard to achieve their dreams.
Qureshi, however, said that if there were similar training workshops, then it would be good for the girls to enhance their skills further. "I want to go to other villages to train the girls to be financially independent by honing their skills through the Tata Power Dhaaga initiative."
Ankita, too, shares her success story and how Dhaaga has changed her life. "I want to be financially independent and support my family as well. My husband works, but cost of living is high. We want our children to get good-quality education. Both my husband, and my in-laws have been very supportive in me contributing to the family. I would like to thank Tata Power for starting the Dhaaga initiative, which has been instrumental in me helping my family," she said.
Through the Dhaaga project, the women earn anything between Rs 2,500 and Rs 3,000 per month, which is a substantial contribution to monthly expenses. More importantly, the project has given them a feeling of self-confidence that they are also breadwinners and their contribution is significant in keeping the house running.