Hailing from a community that doesn’t set much store by education, Aasiya is waging a war against convention. She is among the many young women who work at Essar Foundation-established Salaai Stitching Centre in Salaya in Gujarat’s Devbhumi Dwarka district. But Aasiya is also the only one among her peers to understand the value of education, exhorting her colleagues to learn how to read and write.
Aasiya has taken it upon herself to ensure that women who come to Salaai not only learn how to stitch, but also acquire a basic education. Over time, Salaai has become more than just a source of income for the women in Salaya. The Centre is emerging as a nucleus of social interaction and improvement.
Aasiya is helping to change the mindset of her community, one young woman at a time.
About Salaai Stitching Centre:
Salaai trains local women in sustainable skills, like operating the specialised machines that help in sewing the rexine and leather used as material for the bags. This training is provided through a three-month module and is endorsed by a certificate of completion. Until date, over 500 women in Salaya have successfully completed the training. The Salaai Stitching Centre was initiated in 2012 with support from the Vagher Muslim Jamat and Ms Rashidaben Suelmanbhai Bhaya, a socially active lady from the community. The Foundation has organised two exhibitions for promoting and selling the products at the Essar Oil township in Jamnagar. In addition, the centre’s products have also been showcased at the national-level NABARD exhibition in Ahmedabad.
This initiative is part of Essar Foundation’s comprehensive strategy of empowering local women in various states. The Foundation operates 10 Lok Vikas Kendras in Gujarat, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Maharashtra through a slew of projects. The projects are aimed at skill development and enterprise for women across activities like handicraft and apparel production, food processing, setting and operating sanitary napkin manufacturing units, and organising exhibitions and events promoting sales & marketing opportunities to trained women.
The Devbhumi Dwarka district is home to several Essar businesses including the 20 million tonne Essar Oil refinery, multiple Essar Power plants, as well as ports that manage dry bulk and liquid cargoes.