Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Rural Development: Sewing Project

[Editor's note:] Rajini Prakash submitted this article.  She has written that credit certainly goes to Sadhana Mishra, Dr Upreti, and Meena Sharma for setting up the project and ensuring that the project succeeds. Sadhana and Meena have contributed to the content of the article. Sadhana, Dr. Upreti and Meena have been in copy for the drafts and final submission of this article. Rajini is an AHYMSIN secretary; Sadhana, AHYMSIN General Secretary; Dr. Upreti, General Manager of Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG); Meena, a longtime and steady presence in the AHYMSIN Office.

One of the primary aims of AHYMSIN is to perform acts of charity for the benefit of humanity. AHYMSIN seeks to engage in meaningful enterprise that will uplift local communities.

Last year, the village of Khairi Khurd Thakurpur was identified as a suitable location for the purpose. By then, the villages of Khadari Shyampur and Vipur Khurd, in Rishikesh were already being supported in rural development by DMT (Dhyana Mandiram Trust), the sister organization of AHYMSIN. Khairi Khurd is a collection of about 300 households with a population of less than 2000. Even though men and women have a higher literacy rate than in most other Indian villages, women continue to lack opportunities for self expression.

The government of India recognizes this disparity between men and women and has reported in 2009 that, “participation of women in employment and decision-making remains far less than that of men, and the disparity is not likely to be eliminated by 2015.” (Ref: Millennium Development Goal with the United Nations). The reality is that much needs to be done to uplift the status of women and thereby positively impact local communities.

Therefore, it becomes all the more important for organisations such as AHYMSIN to initiate and support the empowerment of women. In view of this, a training centre was set up in 2013 at Khairi Khurd with the purpose of providing opportunities for women to be self-employed and economically independent. The training centre focused on building skills in the areas of sewing, stitching, embroidery, painting etc. with the long-term vision of improving economic sustainability of these villages.

The project invested in six sewing machines according to the established requirement and also supported and continues to support the presence of a teacher in terms of regular honorarium.

At the moment, there are 25 women who are being trained at the centre. Subsequently, the aim is to extend this support to other areas as well such as providing computers and training local youth to use these computers.

One year has been completed since the initiative was launched. The initiative has been very successful as indicated by the feedback from participants. There is consensus that the initiative has been extremely beneficial to participants, it has provided opportunities, new skills, infused hope and increased levels of confidence. In other words, it has changed lives.

Some feedback is mentioned below:

Anju Ranakoti, a participant, says, “Ever since the training centre was set up, it has helped our villagesignificantly. It has given me new skills. Now I stitch clothes for my entire family. This has reduced expenses and freed up money for other uses. Earlier, we would have our clothes tailored elsewhere, and it was never satisfactory. It has also helped that I did not have to pay a fee to learn this skill. I feel the benefits have been great. I am grateful to the Society for the support extended to me.”

Another participant, Reena Tilvadi says, “I have learnt how to use my time effectively while maintaining income generation. It has helped me improve my financial status. I have not only gained skills, but also saved on tailoring expenses. Neighbours and friends have also benefitted by my newly acquired skills.”

Naina Panth says, “I have been able to help my family with my newly gained skills. We girls have gained significantly from the Sewing Project. We can design our own clothes. It has helped in family economics. I have saved money. I am grateful to the Society and hope many more women take this opportunity to gain skills and benefit from this project.”  

On the unanimous request of the villagers, this initiative has been extended for one more year.

For further information on participation and support of this project, you may contact Dr. Krishan Upreti, General Manager SRSG, at [email protected]

When you visit SRSG, you are welcome to learn more about this initiative. Dr Upreti will be happy to speak with you on this.

Our gratitude to Guru and the Tradition for this opportunity to participate and serve.

“Let your selfless service increase, whether by one percent or five percent or whatever. Increase the time and energy you spend in SELFLESS service of others. That is the first concrete action you can begin with.”

– Swami Veda Bharati. (See http://ahymsin.org/main/ityuka-2010-conference/questions-fo-self-examination.html)



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