Adding colours to lives of women: Rang Sutra

By Mohd Anis ur Rahman Khan

Poonch, Dec. 31 (ANI): Some people are worried about earning their livelihood and make all efforts to arrange for the basic needs of life. Everyone manages his own livelihood, whether it is the head of the family or the country’s Prime Minister.

At present, for the same reason our Prime Minister Narendra Modi is touring foreign countries to promote the “Make In India” campaign in the international arena. By visiting, so many countries will invest in India, manufacture their products and give more and more employment to our youth so that our farmers, youth and students do not commit suicide.

It is quite clear that after education, other options like skill development, handicrafts and businesses can be explored. A new department, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), has been formed under which programmes like Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), Udaan, Himayat, Skill Certification and Monetary Reward Scheme (STAR) etc. have been launched wherein an individual is given skill based training depending on his education, skill set and interest.

After the successful termination of the course, a certain amount is disbursed as loan so that the trainee can set up his / her own enterprise or business instead of being a burden on others. In today’s era, the world is a global village, wherein due to internet and other latest technologies we can get the knowledge about any corner of the world whenever we desire.

The Prime Minister was the chief guest on the occasion of the first ever World Youth Skills Day on July 15, 2015, and the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) launched the Skill India Campaign at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.

As per government declaration, more than 18,000 graduates received employment letters. In fact, within the country around 2,33,000 youth were given certificates by the ITI and the Prime Minister announced the Skill Monetary Rewards scheme wherein skilled personnel can get loans ranging from 5,000 to 15,0000 so that they can build their future. As per this programme, the government’s target is to give out loans to around 34 lakh youth all over the country.

There is a company called “Rang Sutra” which enables artisans, skilled youth and farmers to get employment. Sumita Ghose, a widow, established the company in 2006. This company gives employment to helpless artisans from the remote parts of the country, whether from Rajasthan, Uttaranchal or from the hilly regions of Assam. These artisans not only get employment but also get their share in the company.

The following are the aims of this company: –

(a) To act as a bridge between the artisans and the buyers. (b) To maintain a balance between the past and the present. (c) Maintain change and stability.

(d) To provide sustainable growth, employment and respect to farmers and skilled people.

Riyaz Malik, a resident of the border town of Poonch, got the opportunity to visit the Urmul Trust, based in Bajju village of Bikaner district on January 26, 2015, due to the assistance from Charkha Development Communication Network, a Delhi based Non-Government Organisation.

In Bajju, there is desert all around and the population is sparse. According to the members of Urmul Trust, the local people are employed as per their likes and talent. After partition, there were a number of people who migrated from Pakistan but were losing touch with their artistic talent.

Rang Sutra along with an NGO has helped identify these people and motivated them to pursue their ancestral profession by helping them. They played an important role in promoting their handicrafts in the market. As a result, their work has been appreciated in the national as well as international markets.

One such artisan Mohini Devi narrates, “I was an ordinary woman, but since I associated myself with Rang Sutra my life has changed. Due to my work, I was awarded ‘Usha International Award’ in Delhi in 2014 by famous Hindi film actress Priyanka Chopra, which is a matter of pride for me. I have some advice, if apart from writing you can motivate people to do stitching and embroidery and if their work is good, they will find a good market.”

Rang Sutra employs artisans in small groups in various small towns where different types of craftsmen are present. For example, the weavers and artisans who make handicraft items and small groups of artisans who work together are trained by the company in traditional embroidery related works in a new style. The company does not just spread talent, it sends these artisans to markets where they can sell the products manufactured by them and provides them necessary information and idea about reasonable pricing.

“The women who came down from Sindh province in Pakistan by crossing the Thar desert in 1971 were excellent in embroidery work; we have not only revitalised their skill but also given them financial support. Today more than 1000 women are connected with our organisation through their skill,” says 64-year-old Pushpa Devi.

It is worth mentioning that Pushpa Devi herself has travelled many foreign countries, including Bangladesh and South Africa.

Paro Bai, a migrant from Sindh province of Pakistan during 1971, tells us, “I was 12 years old when we heard that the doors to India were open. We left our homes and joined the group that was coming to India. After staying in Barmer district for 10 years the government gave us 25 bighas of land in the border town of Bikaner.”

“Rang Sutra has not just connected us to embroidery but has created so much awareness that I was about to contest the Panchayat elections, but could not participate because of the condition of being an eighth pass, put by the State Government acted as a hurdle,” she adds.

Bhandari Bai, a resident of Dodi village located 180 km from Bikaner, who is a shareholder of the company says, “We migrated from Mirpur Khas, Sindh province of Pakistan and there was absolute poverty, we had nothing to eat. Since the time we were connected to the embroidery work our lives have changed. Our children not just go to school, but my daughter has even done B. Ed and is contesting Panchayat elections, and my son is doing engineering. Apart from us, there are many female artisans who are shareholders in Rang Sutra.

“Earlier, we used to be bound to our houses, but now my I am sitting and my mother-in-law is getting me tea, it’s all because of Rang Sutra,” she adds with a smile on her face.

In fact by the means of Rang Sutra, Sumita Ghose has added colours to the lives of many women, whether it is Delhi, Rajasthan, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka or Jammu and Kashmir.

Rang Sutra is not just creating respectable employment for women but is also empowering them in decision-making. Founder director and CEO of Rang Sutra, Sumita Ghose, says, “I can create similar branches provided there is a group of 20-25 women and I can send my trainer and train them. Our company has collaborated with Aga Khan Foundation based in Hazrat Nizamuddin in Delhi and is providing employment to the womenfolk there. Recently we have started work in Bhadhoi district of UP.”

The Charkha Development Communication Network feels that the efforts being undertaken by this company can be seen as a partner in the growth of the nation and especially a step towards the realisation of the dreams of our Prime Minister.

[The views expressed in the article are personal] (ANI)

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