Tuesday, October 15, 2019

A letter from Kavita


My name is Kavita Bihal and I am 29 years old. I was born in Punjab, a less conservative state in the north of India. In 2007, my family moved to Jodhpur. Unlike most women working at our centres, I went to school for 12 years and studied at a university in Jodhpur. I got my degree in fashion design in 2013. At the end of 2012, I joined Sambhali Trust. At first, I was working as a sewing teacher in an Empowerment Centre, but after a year I started to work at the Graduate Sewing Centre as a supervisor, back then we were only 15 women, and I taught them all the things we are making for the boutique. I am now in charge of the Graduate Sewing Centre as the manager. I am responsible for national and international orders, making samples, buying fabrics and training the women as well as teaching them new skills.


I enjoy my job at Sambhali Trust a lot. I learn everyday something new from the ladies and no day is the same. I like fashion, it's my passion, I am a shopaholic! I have a lot of freedom regarding my future and live a more independent life than most women in Rajasthan.

I know that Rajasthan is a tough ground for women’s rights and I am glad to be part of Sambhali Trust to support the women. I am happy about every little step to come closer to gender equality. Child marriage is very bad. The girls don't know what happens to them. And now they are only 18 years old and don't have dreams. The biggest problem is that most families think that education is not important for girls and women. The women here, before they started at Sambhali Trust, they thought they would never be able to work because they had dropped out of school early or did not complete a course. They thought being a housewife is their destiny. But now, women understand: Work and creativity do not need education, we do not need a diploma or a degree for that, just the willpower to learn. They understand that they can be an inspiration for other ladies, that they can support their families financially as well. Now, all women have understood that they have the power to earn money, that they have the power to speak, that they have the power to go out alone. So, they have learned about their rights, which is most important. And because they contribute to the family’s income, they are being respected more as well. The husbands, brothers or fathers, they trust them now, they trust their wives, their sisters, their daughters. The girls are so happy to work for Sambhali Trust. It's also a big deal for their families because the girls are leaving the house from the morning until the evening. The girls and women love it because it's a safe place, when they come here they feel empowered and free. I love to see that they are getting more confident.

Here, the women find their second family. They never talk about their own families, their problems at home, no, they have other topics to talk about while working in the centre. They have an own, different world here, in the sewing centre. This is empowerment, when you forget the pain from the past and move away from that.

I have always wanted to be a designer, and here, I am a designer. This has always been my dream. I chose to work for Sambhali Trust because it feels like family. I am not coming here as a manager, we are coming here as family. There is no hierarchy. We do not say sir or mam to anybody, we say didi for sister or bhaiya for brother. We all have a lot of freedom here. 



2 comments:

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