Sewing machine returns as a powerful tool for women economic liberation in Punjab
Rajpura (Patiala), November 20, 2020: The humble sewing machine, with its subtle contribution in helping rural folks earn a living, has returned as a powerful tool of economic liberation for women in more than 49 villages of Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib districts.
The women, who had been engaged in stitching traditional Punjabi suits without any formal training, have now evolved into successful designers, attracting many fashion enthusiasts and business houses from Patiala and Chandigarh to their homes in this cluster of villages.
At the heart of this transformation are seven training centers being run by the Nabha Power Limited (NPL) that have been brought up as part of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
Sharing her success story, Sukhjeet Kaur of Dhumma village, who underwent the one-year training at the center in her native village, said stitching suits had been the only source of income for her and given her limited skills, the income remained modest. “However, after I underwent the training, I learned the art of designing clothes and embroidery as well and discovered that there was more to stitching than I already knew. It was for the first time that I learned embroidery at this center. Now I am approached by many from Patiala and Chandigarh to design their clothes and the income has gone up.”
Nabha Power Limited (NPL), which has long established itself as Punjab’s growth engine by meeting more than 25% of its power demand, took this initiative in 2011 when the first training center came up at Sural Kalan. Since then six more centers have been constructed in the adjoining areas and around 2700 women have received training here, which is entirely covered under the CSR initiative.
Mohinder Kaur of Dadu Majra village said, “The sewing machine is now my symbol of self-reliance. I managed to scale up my earnings and subsequently it had a positive impact on my confidence.”
She said, the meaningful gesture by NPL has started a trend in the villages and has ‘weaponize’ the aspirational rural women, who have now arrived at finding meaning to their lives.