The night was long…………………....!
The darkness enveloped the home. The woman of the house could feel the bleak, black night. She could not fathom how she would give her children enough food and decent education through whatever little her husband earned. This thought was gnawing on her mind, day and night.
As she sat brooding in her hut, one night she just rummaged through a bundle of old, worn out clothes. She got a blouse (a part of attire worn by Indian women on the upper body). She examined the piece and slowly opened the stitched portions one by one and separated them. She further studied the pieces and cuts of the unraveled blouse. Using a thread and a needle, she carefully sewed up the pieces all over and made the blouse whole again.
This is how Kuresha Sheikh started her small business of sewing blouses for women. Being a muslim woman, nobody of her family would allow her to go out and work. Her father-in-law who did not see eye-to-eye with her husband, cut off the electricity connection. She continued sewing by lamp light.
With the money earned, she could buy a sewing machine after two years and the business took off. With great difficulty she could give some education and vocational training to her children. She made use of a government scheme providing sewing machines and acquired 2 machines. Her two daughters learnt from her and run these machines, together with her.
Still, it was a difficult life.......
And then, her husband died due to cancer. All her earnings and support could not save him.
She was a member of the Self-Help Group by that time. Chetana-Vikas offered some advice to streamline her business which was running, but, haphazardly and inconsistently.
Taking heed of this advice she started a tailoring class which provided a certified training program to the trainees. Very soon, girls and women from her village and atleast 6 neighboring villages started joining the professional course, giving her a steady income.
Alongwith this, the money from YOUR support was used for buying accessories needed for tailoring, other sewing skills and dress designing for the trainees in her class giving more option to the trainees. The class is run in her one room home and till now about 70 girls have already benefited from the six month courses. This course helps these girls to start their own businesses.
Kuresha Sheikh has been instrumental in organizing other muslim women of her village. By practice, the muslim women do not come out of their homes. The group has started sharing with Chetana-Vikas, their problems and needs of better livelihood.
Friends, every time we share with you stories of different women.It is interesting to note HOW these women try to better their lives.
A gritty and determined Kuresha, with some able support is now a pioneer in her village for the development and improvement of lives. YOUR help lights up the lamp in desolate homes.
Friends, let this supporting community grow through you.Please ask everyone you know to visit http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/empower-deserted-women-and-widows-in-rural-india/.
Thank you !
Niranjana MaruProject Leader
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http://www.chetanavikas.org (presently under reconstruction, but accessible)