DANTEWADA: Despite poor literacy, women in Dantewada have traditionally contributed more to the family income than men. But securing a job with a stable income locally has brought joy to many women in the district and given hope to scores of others. Earlier, many women from the region used to go to cities in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Karnataka to look for work in the garment industry. Many of them, unable to adjust to the different values and lifestyles in those places, were forced to return.
“We were able to adjust to a different culture as our values, as well as language, were different. Also, we couldn’t save enough even after months of working in those places were quite expensive. Here, working among our own people gives a strong community feeling and a sense of belonging,” said Seema Bhogami.
“For many local women, even state capital Raipur is a ‘distant’ place.
Quite naturally, going to cities like Coimbatore or Hyderabad overwhelmed them. Now, they have an opportunity to work and live happily with their families at their own place,” said district collector Saurabh Kumar, a recipient of Prime Minister’s award for excellence in public administration last year. Now, these women can balance their work with family requirements.
Besides, acquiring a job of an industrial nature in a place like Dantewada has boosted their self-belief. From working on small sewing machines at home to handling the big industrial machine, they are brimming with confidence.
“Even after earlier training, I was doing nothing. Shakti Garment has given me employment and our confidence has been boosted, working on these machines,” said Meena Maurya, who has studied till Class 10th. Gauri Madi Nag, who couldn’t study beyond Class 5 as she lost her parents, said working at Shakti Garment has added meaning to her life. “Earlier, I was sitting idle at home. Now we have a choice to make money and save for our future,” she said.
“Now, we feel like professional and at the same time fulfil the role as traditional homemaker,” said Laxmi Smarliya, who has studied up to Class 12. “We have learnt to make effective use of our time. Our life has changed for the better as we get accustomed to a new environment of work culture,” said Padma Barsa, who, too, has studied up to Class 12. The feeling of self-reliance that Shakti Garment has brought in among Dantewada women is the transformation that has come.