Last year Anchal successfully launched a satellite training program in Ajmer, thanks to the support of our donors and the hard work of our team. The goal of this program was to provide livelihood training for ten women from a neighboring community. After eight months of training sessions, we are excited to share that nine women graduated from the program and recently joined the Anchal team as full-time Project Assistants!
An urgent need
The majority of the women that joined the training program expressed interest in learning a new skill and an urgent need to support themselves and their families financially.
One of the trainees, Munshira, shared, “My husband lost his job due to COVID so I joined this program because I needed to support my family.”
Project Manager, Manju, also told us this, “The importance of the project became strengthened by impacts from COVID, the new trainees realized the project was an effective alternative livelihood.”
The training program
The program’s eight-month skills training curriculum was implemented through six modules led by Anchal’s Project Manager, Manju, and Tailor Master, Roopdas. Each module covered important skills needed to become a well-rounded seamstress and future Project Assistant for Anchal. Some of the various skills included hand stitching, design composition, measurement, cutting, machine stitching, tailoring, and stock organization. Along with skills training, the participants were also provided educational workshops on domestic violence, menstruation, women’s rights, sexual harassment, and self-defense. Throughout the training program, the trainees could also work on hand stitching Kantha pieces in order to earn money beyond the daily stipend.
Andalib shared this about the program, “I learned a lot during the training. My favorite things were how to match saris for the vintage designs, machine stitching, and cutting. My confidence has increased and now I feel that I can go anywhere on my own.”
The trainees started by creating simple products like bandanas and napkins then gradually learned how to make complex apparel pieces like a hoodie from start to finish. The last month of training was conducted “on the job” at Anchal’s Headquarters. After the completion of each module, an assessment was given to the trainees and the final exam consisted of a written test and product creation. After the completion of the final examination, the nine women proudly celebrated during their graduation ceremony and were awarded certificates to recognize their accomplishments.
Trainees, now Project Assistants
Now nine women have officially joined the Anchal team as Project Assistants. Anchal’s Project Assistants are integral full-time staff that wash, cut, measure, pattern, sew, train and mentor artisans, manage artisan distribution in the field, quality control, iron, and ship all of Anchal’s textiles. They invest care and attention to every piece that is shipped in each purchase order to customers like you.
When asked how they felt about joining the Anchal team and what they were most excited about,
Mamta said “The team behavior excited me the most to join here. Manju and Roopdas always encouraged and supported me. Also, my family is very happy that I am working with nice people. They feel safe for me.”
Vijay also shared, “I feel very familiar with the team and management that has given me so much confidence. I am glad that now I can help my family too.”
Congratulations to Rajiya, Monika, Mamta, Andalib, Sushlia, Vijay, Kulsum, Munshira, and Praksh for your hard work and graduation! We are also incredibly proud of the leadership team that facilitated this program. Without Manju, Roopdas, and Shefali this milestone would not have been possible.
With the growth of our Project Assistant team from 15 to 24, our capacity to produce more pieces will directly give more work to the 180 artisans in the field working from home. We look forward to continuing to share more about these amazing women as they grow into their roles within the team.