Women in Rajasthan help each other help themselves.
Summertime is when the schools are shut and the women in Rajasthan have the time to break away from the regular grind. From Karauli town in east Rajasthan, our Community Correspondent Sunita Kasera brings the story of the Agarwal Community Centre which organizes special summer camps where the women can put their free time to good use and pick up a livelihood or a hobby skill. The enterprising have the option of picking up tailoring and sewing, the art of mehendi, music and handicrafts. The camp is managed and organized by an all woman team and its popularity seems to grow summer after summer.
“It’s a great initiative,” says Sunita,” The fee is extremely reasonable and what is most important is that the women feel comfortable. They’re not just picking up a skill but they’re coming together and having fun and learning something while at it. My own friends who have attended the camp now take up small sewing jobs and they are able to earn a little extra and contribute to the family income. It always helps to learn an extra skill.”
Some of the women who have passed out of the camp return as trainers and teachers. “Summer is when you have a lot of time on your hands,” says a women,” And because it is hot outside, I would just sit at home and watch television. But these camps are a great initiative. This is my second camp. I have done my sewing course and am now, pursuing mehendi. I take some sewing jobs once in a while but mehendi is just my hobby.”
The success of these camps has galvanized the women and they are planning to start more classes and reach out to many more communities in and around their town. Sunita has made the video in solidarity with the women from the camp. She says,” It may seem whimsical and soft but it is effective. The women have a reason to come together and speak out. It’s a public space for the sisterhood in Karauli. My own daughter goes to the camp and she loves it. She’s meeting other women and learning new things every day. She always returns with from the camp with a smile on her face.”
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