My poverty did not allow me to dream but now thanks to the change that ICICI Foundation’s training has ushered in my life, I have started harbouring multi-hued dreams.

From an unskilled labourer to a skilled tailor

I live with my family in a small village in Madhya Pradesh. I got married at a young age and barely had any formal education. My husband worked as a tailor on contract for other established tailors while I worked as a labourer. Our combined income was not enough to feed our family of eight. Every single day was a struggle for survival.

On the advice of a community facilitator, I decided to join ICICI Foundation Rural Livelihood Programme’s free ‘Dress Designing for Women’ course at the local centre. Even though I did not know basic stitching, my trainers constantly encouraged me. In the one month that I spent at the Foundation’s programme, I picked up the basics of tailoring and became proficient at making bags and caps. The team at the centre introduced me to people in nearby markets who started giving me work.

Today, I have bought a sewing machine and run a small business from my house. I get work from large garment manufacturers. Our income has more than doubled and our lifestyle has improved. We even purchased a refrigerator and a mixer-grinder, and domestic chores seem so much easier! I now spend more quality time with my children and my in-laws. People in our village look up to me as a role model. My husband and I are soon planning to take a loan and set up our own tailoring shop and secure our children’s future.

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Vinod Raj from Machagondanahalli village, Karnataka