Friday, January 20, 2017

Help Raise €6,075 for 105 of Our Women

“A girl has always been perceived as a burden to the family, and her fate has always just been about doing the household chores and getting married and leaving the family home to live with her in-laws, so it is generally not thought worth spending money on her education.” So said Govind Rathore, founder of Sambhali Trust, to The Indian Express in June 2015. With Rajasthan having the highest rate of female illiteracy (53%) and child marriages (a 2012-13 survey showed that 51.2% of women aged 20-25 were married before the age of 18) in India, chances to gain economic independence are slim. In a state so entrenched in patriarchy, where girls are taken out of school once they have their first menstruation to instead attend to household duties, meaning they lack the necessary education to find a successful career, they are generally completely reliant on their husbands and in-laws for money and support. For the past 10 years Sambhali Trust has aimed to prevent this, and now we need your help in fundraising €6,075 for sewing machines for 105 of our women graduating from the sewing training programme.

With the ultimate aim of aiding these women towards financial independence, 7 of our 17 empowerment projects are dedicated to providing Rajasthani females with skills that include sewing, clothing manufacturing, tailoring, block-printing and embroidery. After an intensive vocational course which includes creating a salwar kameez, a traditional Indian outfit, students are each presented with a sewing machine at their graduation ceremony. This allows them to continue to design and create items at home to launch their own small businesses or to work in our graduate sewing centre where the ethical items are sold in the Sambhali Trust’s boutique.

Part of our graduate sewing centre
Mamta, who completed the training, has already had her life transformed by this newfound financial stability. Married with three daughters and one son, she has now become the sole economic provider for her immediate family as her husband is unable to work due to illness. Before she joined the sewing programme, Mamta was a part of the Sambhali Trust Jodhpur Empowerment Centre, where she spent one year learning core skills in sewing as well as improving her mathematics, English and Hindi language. Mamta now has the means to provide food, shelter and medication for her family. Additionally, one of Mamta’s daughters is now attending school due to the increase in finances!

This is just one person whose life has changed in ways previously unthinkable. There are 300 other women that have had their lives change due to something as simple as a sewing machine in the last 10 years. This year we want to help our largest graduating class of 105 women achieve the same.

In a ceremony on February 22nd, Her Highness Maharani Hemlata Raje of Jodhpur will present these women with their sewing machines and certificates. We need to reach our target of €6,075 to be able to purchase these machines. At just €62 each, these machines can have a large impact on a woman’s life and those dependent on her. Will you join us to change their lives by spreading the word and donating what you can?

To donate, click here. All photos credited "Anne Gattilia for Photographers Without Borders.

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