In our mission to promote economic independence for underprivileged women artisans, SETU has come up with two training centres for tailoring in remote villages of Narsapur district in Andhra Pradesh. Training centres have been established in the two villages (one center in each village) of Narsapur district viz Mogultur and Appanarmunilanka. Our crochet lace women artisans live in these areas.
Among the community of crochet lace artisans, some have been found to be HIV positive and in some cases, their family members have lost their lives due to this life threatening disease. Being HIV positive, these artisans were unable to find employment for themselves due to the social stigma associated with the disease. So the underlying motive behind these training centres was to provide training to the victims and their families.
To aid the women artisans, SETU has set up tailoring centres in the Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh for the crochet lace artisans, in association with Godavari Delta Women Lace Artisans Co- Op. Cottage Industrial Society. GDWLACC is a renowned local NGO based in West Godawari Distt and has been associated with SETU since long. The NGO, work for development of women associated with crotchet craft by helping them market their products.
The situation of HIV affected people has been improved over time through awareness generation by local NGOs like GDWLACC. Some people now do not discriminate with the HIV affected artisans and help them in possible ways but the stigma does exist for many and life isn’t easy for them. In fact, identifying such victims is difficult as people do not disclose about their infection and so, many times they remain deprived of the help that they badly need to ease their suffering. Our target was to provide training to the known victims as well as to motivate and entice the unidentified patients as well. So the training centres were opened to all willing women artisans, irrespective of their status, health condition etc.
Reasons for choosing ‘tailoring’ as the alternate livelihood source of income for women was multi-folded:
• One, the women artisans live in remote areas and have to walk miles for having their clothes stitched.
• Secondly, if they learn the art of tailoring, they can stitch not only their own clothes but can also use it as a source of income generation by stitching for others.
• And last but not the least, they wanted their daughters to be self-reliant after marriage. The training can help their daughters (nearing the eligible age for marriage) to learn & develop the tailoring skills so that even after marriage they can be economically independent by starting their own tailoring work if needed.
The tailoring centres established by SETU in the villages of Mogultur and Apannarmunlika received a warm feedback as people were very happy with the centres. Motorized sewing machines, furniture, basic accessories etc. were sponsored by SETU. The trainers’ fee for first few months were also sponsored. Women artisans were delighted to be a part of the programme as now they would be able to get trained in tailoring skills and can use it as an employment opportunity, thus providing them with a livelihood alternative other than making crochet products.
A total of 32 women artisans from village Mogultur and 35 women artisans from village Apannarmulnika registered their names for the tailoring programme.