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Sambhali Graduates' Sewing Centre 1

Historically, the Dalit communities have had very few employment opportunities other than jobs regarded as impure or degrading, such as leather work, butchering, or removal of rubbish, animal carcasses and waste. Dalit women are generally employed as manual labourers cleaning streets, latrines, and sewers or in the agricultural sector, exploited by higher caste landlords keeping them in a vicious cycle of poverty.

On 22nd February 2012, we opened our Graduate Sewing Centre in Jodhpur, to give the disadvantaged women of Rajasthan an employment opportunity that would boost their self respect and confidence, rather than diminish it, and enable them to create a sustainable flow of income to help raise themselves out of poverty.

The Centre currently provides 15 women with paid employment, producing goods for our charitable store 'Sambhali Boutique', which is located in central Jodhpur on the pathway to Mehrangarh Fort. The women are between 20-45 years old, and many of them came directly from our Sambhali Empowerment Centres after learning arts and crafts techniques in the centres one year training program. Now they are able to use their acquired skills to generate their own income by making products for our Boutique, as well as national and international orders. Volunteers and Staff work closely with the women to ensure that the items produced are of excellent quality.

The sewing centre gives the women the freedom to develop their own ideas, the facilities to produce garments, and the space for the stages of production and storage. The women graduates are paid on a piece-rate basis and earn between 3000-5000 rupees each month depending on the amount of orders received. This is exceptional considering most workers within their community barely earn over the national poverty line (Rs.816 per capita per month in villages and Rs.1,000 per capita per month in cities). In the last year, we have increased the number of graduates working within our sewing centre and are now able to accommodate larger orders in our new larger premises.

We are very proud of our Graduate Sewing Centre as this project is fully self sustainable. The money generated from selling the products fully covers all costs involved with this centre.