A THREAD OF EMPOWERMENT!
14 year old Meera was born in a small village of Karnataka, India to a devadasi. From a very young age, meera witnessed the elaborate rituals and performances associated with temple worship. Her mother, Sarala, was a talented dancer and singer, dedicated to the service of the deity in their village temple.
Meera’s childhood was a mix of wonder and confusion. She admired her mother’s graceful movements and melodious voice but couldn’t fully comprehend the societal stigma surrounding their family. As meera grew older, she began to understand the harsh reality of their situation.
Sarala, like many other devadasis, was sexually exploited and struggled to make ends meet. The meager income she earned from performing at the temple wasn’t enough to provide for both of them. Despite her limited education, sarala was determined to not let meera go through the same cycle of exploitation. She dreamt for meera to be well educated and live a life full of opportunities and respect.
Despite all odds, sarala managed to enroll meera in a government school. Meera was eager to learn and excelled in her studies, which brought her immense joy. However, the social stigma associated with her being a devadasi’s child made it difficult for her to build relationships with her classmates. She faced discrimination and was often ostracized by her peers. There came a time when meera was not able to focus on her studies due to the discrimination she faced and as a result she failed in her exams.
Inauguration of Jeans Stitching Training
Providing jeans stitching training for devadasi children can be a valuable skill-building opportunity that can empower them with practical skills and offer them alternative means of livelihood.
With a same vision in mind, On March 27 and March 29, vocational skill training centers were inaugurated at Hanagal & Hosamalapangudi, Bellary for the tailoring . Fashion design training by the GOOD project team was present for the programme along with the kishori and the community members participated in the programme. These courses would rehabilitate victims of sexual exploitation and prevent vulnerable children from devadasi families from sexual abuse.
Vision and Benefits of Jeans Stitching Program
Along with meera, few other children leela, meena and priya who were also faced numerous challenges and limitations due to their background. Their mothers were former devadasis who had experienced the hardships of the system first hand. But mothers had decided to enroll their daughters in the program.
However, a ray of hope emerged when a CIF under GOOD Project introduced a jeans stitching program for the children. The program aimed to provide them with skills that would empower them to lead independent lives. Excitement filled the air as meera, leela, meena, and priya eagerly enrolled in the training.
Under the guidance of skilled trainers, the girls embarked on their stitching journey. They learned the basics of sewing, operating sewing machines, and crafting different types of stitches. Their determination and enthusiasm shone through as they honed their skills day by day.
As the program progressed, meera leela, meena, and priya discovered their individual strengths and interests. Meera & leela had an eye for intricate embroidery and enjoyed adding artistic flair to the jeans she stitched. Meena displayed exceptional precision in pattern cutting, ensuring every pair of jeans was tailored to perfection. Priya’s attention to detail made her a master at assembling the various components of the jeans.
Their hard work paid off when they completed their training and received certificates. Armed with newfound skills, leela, meena, and priya felt a sense of accomplishment and confidence they had never experienced before.
The local community began to recognize the girls’ talent and dedication. Word spread about the beautifully stitched jeans created by the devadasi children. Support poured in as people began purchasing their unique creations. The girls’ work not only showcased their skill but also highlighted their journey of resilience and determination. They have started earning their livelihood and starting living a respectful life.
The success of their jeans stitching business inspired other devadasi children in the village. They saw the transformation that was possible through education and skill-building.Meera, leela, meena, and priya became role models, encouraging others to join the program and break free from the limitations of their circumstances. This is a great success for the CIF program as the goal was accomplished.