Women weave a bright future

Women weave a bright future

Women engaged in weaving a bed spread at the training Centre in Mudipu

Majority of the rural population in India is living in poverty, deprived of basic amenities. They are either unemployed or underemployed. Most of them are illiterate, suffering from ill-health, suppressed by vested interests and are deprived of their due share and rights in the development due to poor governance.

They are often addicted to alcohol, narcotics and other vices, which further de-motivate them from involving themselves in sustainable livelihood activities. Many women either engage in beedi rolling or work as agriculture labourers earning meagre income.

With a view to empower women, the Department of Handlooms and Textiles in association with Jana Shikshana Trust has started a handloom training Centre at Mudipu, wherein 30 women from Balepuni, Naringana, Kanyana, Manjanady, Veerakamba Gram Panchayat limits are being trained in weaving. Of the 30 women, 20 belong to Jogi community and 10 belong to Koraga community.

Though weaving was virtually unknown to these women, now they are being trained and several are mastering the technique.

In fact, they expressed their desire to set up a permanent production unit to earn their livelihood. The training aims to help women to take weaving as a viable source of income.
The Centre has six looms and a trainer to train these women.

Speaking to City Herald, Vijaya, Nayana, Surekha, Vasanthi and others said handloom is a viable alternative to beedi rolling and provide them a life with dignity.

They said “though it was difficult to learn the skills of spinning the wheel and the loom in beginning, now we can handle it very easily. We have already completed two and half months of training.”  

The women say that it is a tedious job but once the weaver gets the hang of it then it will feel better than working in the fields or rolling the beedi.

Jana Shikshana Trust Directors Sheena Shetty and Krishna Moolya say that the training will be for four months and each will be paid a stipend of Rs 2,000 per month.

They start their day with a prayer and some motivating statements like ‘Shikshanave shakthi,’ ‘Koodikaliyona ondagi balona,’ ‘Hennu kalithare, shaale ondu theredanthe’ and so on.

Trainees said such training programmes help rural women to come up in life. The training should be a continuous process, so that women from rural areas can earn their living.
Vijaya said “by rolling beedi we can earn only Rs 100 to Rs 200 per week. We have to roll beedi sitting alone at home. But here we work together by sharing our views.”

“After the training, we will not go back and roll beedi again. All 30 want to start a unit where we can work together,” said all the trainees.

They have already learnt the art of preparing bedsheets and lungi within two-and-half months of their training.

Trainer Sadashiv said that the trainees are trained on every minute details of weaving. Now they are capable of handling the handloom apparatus individually, he said.  

The products will be marketed by the Weavers’ Co-operative Societies set up by the government. Co-operative Societies purchases a bedspread for Rs 45. An individual can weave about three bed sheets per day, he added.

Department Assistant Director Yogish said “the training helps in employing women. The department will also help them in getting looms to start weaving after the training. In fact, under housing scheme, if they do not own a house, then monetary aid of Rs 60,000 will be provided for constructing house if they own a site so that looms can be installed and weaving can be started.”

“The trainers were chosen after conducting a  interview, taking into consideration their background,” he added.

Such a venture would considerably improve the standard of living of these women, who were deprived of income because of the agrarian crisis and could not be employed by the construction industry.

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