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Tailoring training for village women

A friend of Auroville and Village Action thought to herself, “Since I am turning 50 and my many friends will offer me gifts when I make a party, let me tell them to contribute to a project in the Auroville villages.” She and her friends had a wonderful party, the money was sent to Village Action, and this is the report she got:

Dear Marianne,


Happy Birthday to you, many months later! Now, when the good effects of your initiative to ask donations for women in India instead of presents for yourself are showing themselves!

At the Village Acton Resource Centre on the outskirts of Auroville, 26 women are learning tailoring skills, thanks to your contribution.
Their training went on for 6 months, and for the results, let's let them speak for themselves.


“I'll be able to set up an institute or own tailoring shop to generate income for myself in the future even though I face physical challenges”, says Thenmorhi, a 24 year old from Morattandi and member of the Roja Magaliar Mandram. Thenmorhi and her fatherThenmorhi, whose father has to carry her everywhere because of the severe crippling of both her legs, managed to finish her higher secondary school education. She thanked her father for pedaling her everyday to the class up and down. He's a poor man, a mason working in the local villages, and besides herself there are two brothers and one sister who are going to the college and being supported by their father. She doubts she will ever marry, due to her crippled legs. She says she always wanted to become nurse. “But since there is no possibility for that, I have taken up this opportunity to learn a skill so I can stand on my own leg in near future and be supportive to my father.”


Ms. Kumuttam, the teacherWomen, especially from the rural areas, are facing tremendous new challenges in their day to day life. Agricultural labour is no longer sufficient to support the family, and the men are notorious for drinking away even that. The teacher of the training course, Ms. Kumuttam, says she is very a happy to help women like herself to generate income, so they can meet at least the children's expenses on their own and face the challenges with a skill in hand.


Selvi“My husband runs a cycle mechanic shop and that earns too little to run the family, so, I am so happy to have the opportunity to earn myself and become a real support to my children and to my husband” says, Selvi member of the Sivasakthi Magalir Mandram, who's already begun stitching blouses for her neighbours in Achirampattu village.


Sumathi“I was not allowed and never got an opportunity when we were living in the joint family to learn some useful skill,” says Sumathi. A member of Roja Magalir Mandram, Sumathi comes from a big city and married a man who is running a small business in Morattandi village. Since they married eight years ago they have lived under the umbrella of her husband's parents. She'd always wanted to learn tailoring but it never happened. “Now being in the women's club I got the opportunity to learn and fulfill my childhood dream.”


Usha and her daughterUsha was born and brought up in Thekkanam, a very remote village. She moved to Kootroad (a burgeoning suburb near the AVAG office) with her husband a couple of years back. So far she depended for each and every expense on her husband, and felt that she could do nothing to help meet the family expenses. Now she says she's happy to have taken up the opportunity to learn stitching, so she can be supportive and helpful to her husband.


So, there are a few real life stories about all the good your donation has done. These women are vibrant and highly motivated, they'd love to exchange letters with you and your friends. The “graduation ceremony” was a beauty – with dancing and singing and showing off their products – it was clear the women were already “empowered” and ready to make use of their skills.




(with the help of Ashok, and young Aurovilian working with me to document our work in Village Action – Tsunami)


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