Apparel sector skilling for women

“I credit the skill training programme for giving a positive turn to my life.”

Parameshwari, 35-years-old, lives with her husband and two children in Kabilamalai, Namakkal district in Tamil Nadu. She dropped out of school, after completing her 6th standard, due to poverty in the family. Her husband has a seasonal job as an agriculture coolie. Her children study in the local government primary school. Parameshwari, a homemaker, found it hard to make ends meet with her husband’s meagre income. Although she was open to taking up employment to support her family none came her way as she had no job skills to speak of.

When things were looking bleak, Parameshwari heard about the Cognizant Foundation supported tailoring skilling programme implemented by WORD, a not-for-profit working for women empowerment. She enrolled herself in the tailoring training. Although she was new to tailoring she put her heart and soul into it as she believed that the programme would change her life. Thanks to her dedication and the able support of her trainers, Parameshwari completed the programme successfully.

Parameshwari decided to become an entrepreneur. She set up her tailoring shop from her home with a borrowed tailoring machine. She stitches clothes for women and children in her neighbourhood. Through this, she can earn money to support her family in their needs. Parameshwari says, “I credit the skill training programme for giving a positive turn to my life.” She is now confident that one day she set up a full-fledged tailoring shop with her power tailoring machine, taking bigger job orders.

Parameshwari is one of the hundreds of women who have benefitted from the tailoring skill training provided by Cognizant Foundation in partnership with Samaritan Help Mission (SHM), Kolkata, Sarvodaya Integrated Rural Development Society (SIRDS), Koppal and Women’s Organisation for Rural Development (WORD), Namakkal. The projects under this programme were implemented in the last few years in Karnataka, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu

The programme identifies underserved women from urban and rural areas and provides them with skill training in tailoring. The trained women either get placed in nearby textile industries/units or take up self-employment. In some cases, the women are organised into clusters that are mentored periodically. Loan linkages are provided to women in these clusters to start micro-enterprises and they are encouraged to take job orders from nearby textile industries.