Tennis champion Serena Jameka Williams says, ‘The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other. Make sure you’re courageous: be strong, be extremely kind, and above all, be humble.’ This is what Chinni Swami of Purkal Village symbolizes.
Almost 20km from Dehradun city of Uttrakhand, Swami started a Non-Government Organization (NGO), naming it Purkal Stree Shakti Samiti, which has now become an inspirational hub for the lady of the house. Chinni made sure whoever knocks on the door of the organization stands on their feet as proud individual entrepreneurs, making ladies of rural areas realize their talent of embroidering exquisite crafts.
During this unprecedented crisis of the lockdown in wake of the COVID-19 spread, the organization, has come up with reusable/washable and biodegradable safeguard masks for general use. This is helping people in Purkal and surrounding areas, especially when the Central government has made wearing masks in public compulsory. These masks are sold at a nominal rate and the women of the NGO feel satisfied as they help society during these trying times. Their story of empowered began more than a decade ago, as the women of PurkalStree Shakti Samiti today are proud to be economically independent, confident and take control of their lives and rights.
Currently, the organisation is benefiting 178 lives. The NGO is now standing strong for more than 15 years. Women come together every day at Stree Shakti to collaborate and support each other in quilting, which is the process of sewing two or more fabrics together to make a thicker fabric.This also helps them earn a livelihood and they support their families too.
2003 was the year that marked a change for many homemakers in this village, lending a helping hand and contributing towards their respective families. A lady who wanted to earn some money to support her family, knocked on the doors of Purkal Stree Shakti Samiti asking for help and Swami started teaching the lady how to sew a quilt. From there, many other women got the courage to step out of the four walls of stereotyped traditions created by their families and explore the world to lead a confident life.
It is never too late to learn. The women ofPurkalStree Shakti Samitiwere no longer considered frail as they just not learned to quilt but also how to make themselves stronger through educating themselves. They also learnt how to write and read in English over a period of time. It helped the community to become better sales girls and they are now capable of selling their hand-made products to non-Hindi speaking clients as well.
With time, women in the NGO tried their hands at different forms of crafts, like notepads, cushion covers, Frida bags, backpacks, journals, and travel pouches. Every minute detail is looked after while hand knitting and at times to make perfect products for clients, it may take months to make. However, the motivation for the ladies never dropped and they keep their energy going to work harder. With new techniques of hand appliqued and embroidery becoming popular, business grew more successful which meant more revenue. This helped to feed and provide proper education to their children as well. The network of women grows stronger with each passing day as they set examples and encourage many more like themselves to explore their talent and create an economically sound world of their own.
Click on the following stories shared by some women, praising the work of Stree Shakti, to acknowledge the hard work of women of the organization who work day and night in order to spread smiles on everyone’s face: