In a patriarchal society like India, women generally have to put up a fight to avail their own rights. Be it education, marriage or even their eating habits, they have minimal right to choose. Deepalaya has been implementing Project Hope for the last one year at Janakpuri & Sanjay Colony in Delhi with the support of Amway India. The project aims at skilling girls and women in much-sought-after trades -- Beauty & Wellness and Fashion Designing. We initially faced difficulties in enrolling a sufficient number of women. It was an uphill task to convince their parents or their husbands. Gradually, we saw exemplary willpower amongst these women. We have 200+ women now pursuing their dream career. All they want is financial independence.
As they prepared for their final exams, we wanted to give them a perspective – “come what may, they should not forget the reason they joined this course”. With this in mind, we conducted a two-day workshop with the support of Vishwa Yuvak Kendra.
The resource persons for these sessions were normal women, who had their own stories of struggles to tell while pursuing their career and passion. Ms Yashoda and Ms Ruby from NIESBD (National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development) were the resource persons at the Sanjay Colony session while Ms. Savita and Ms. Ruby spoke to the students of Project Hope, Janakpuri. To give the women a knack of entrepreneurship, Ms. Shristi Chawla presented a different overview at both the locations.
A Ghaziabad-based fashion designer, Savita’s mother was asked to leave the house as she was constantly producing girls! One can imagine the kind of problems her mother would have faced to help her in completing her education and then a vocational course at NIESBD, Lal Bahadur Shashtri training institute & FDDI, Noida. She is well versed in cutting & tailoring, fashion designing, beauty & wellness and arts & craft. She inspired the women with her story and also gave tips for becoming a successful fashion designer.
So was the story of Ruby. Coming from a minority background, she had to do zari work to meet the cost of education. She was married off to a religious priest. It was certainly not easy for Ruby to choose a path, which is rarely chosen, in their family. She not only learnt the nuances of beauty & wellness but was hired by NIESBD as an instructor, incidentally, the place where she pursued her course. She gave some handy mantras, which could help women in achieving what they want, without hurting the sentiments of their family members -- a sort of win-win for all.
Shrishti, a lawyer, human right activist and an entrepreneur encouraged the women to tap their inner strength for being successful in life. She told her story of setting up her social enterprise called WomanTheInspiration.
Mr Rajat Thomas from Vishwa Yuvak Kendra also spoke on women power and the importance of financial freedom for women. He leads the capacity building programmes conducted by VYK. He busted certain myths, which have been imposed by the so-called custodians of culture & tradition. He brought up the less-debated subject of bias that automatically creeps in these trades. He urged the women to look beyond such differences and treat everyone with respect and dignity, whatever gender one comes from.
The full day sessions were conducted on 25th March 2021 and 26th March 2021 at Janakpuri & Sanjay colony respectively. The participants who were silent in the beginning were emboldened to speak up, ask their doubts and express their opinions as the sessions progressed.
Ms. Jaswant Kaur, Executive Director, Deepalaya & Ms. Tanushree Roy Chaudhry welcomed the speakers from VYK. They explained the activities and objectives of Project Hope in detail. These sessions will definitely help the students in setting up their enterprises or look for their dream jobs. The testimonials of women who broke the chains of societal controls and those who successfully manage their families and work will go a long way in their journey towards self-reliance.