Sewing helps lift women out of poverty in India
Published 26 May 2012 | ASSIST News Service
She's only 17, but Anshi already feels a crushing economic burden. "My father's monthly income is not sufficient to run the family," she recently shared.
So Anshi was one of the first to sign up when Gospel for Asia (GFA) celebrated International Women's Day recently by establishing a tailoring centre in Northeast India. The centre was started to help women living in the slums and rural areas generate income.
With ten machines available for training, the centre plans to help up to 60 women at a time learn sewing and economic independence. Most of the women who signed up are mothers who have children in the nearby GFA-supported Bridge of Hope Center (BOH). The BOH Center gives children the opportunity for free tuition, books, and a daily lunch.
Poor families in the area are often in financial crisis because the low wages are not enough to support families. Jalaja's husband, a rickshaw driver, barely earns 3,000 rupees (£40) a month while Rashi's husband's salary as a day labourer is only half that amount.
One grateful woman, Nabha, said "I'm privileged to get an opportunity to learn stitching from the centre so I can help my husband in the future. My husband is a carpenter and hardly earns 100 to 150 rupees a day (£1.18 to £1.77). He often falls sick and that is the most difficult time for the family to survive."
Daniel Punnose, Vice President of Gospel for Asia, knows how valuable this resource is to these women's lives. "A sewing machine in the hands of one of these forgotten women can mean a better life for them and their kids. It puts food on the table and clothes on their backs," he said. "All these women need is a chance to live a full, productive life, and Gospel for Asia is happy to give them that chance."
Anshi summed up the attitude of many of the women when she said, "I want to help my father, and I'm so much thankful to God for giving me this privilege to learn stitching."