College girls stitch khadi shirts at the fair in Ranchi on Monday. (Hardeep Singh)
If you’ve always wanted to see how a cotton ball becomes a thread and then fabric, head to Rashtriya Khadi Ewam Saras Mahotsav at Morabadi, Ranchi.
Ten college girls from Deoghar, after completing a six-month course sponsored by Jharkhand Khadi and Village Industries Board, are are exhibiting their skills at hand-weaving, pre-cocoon reeling and spinning at the venue.
The students of RD Bajia Mahila College hail from humble families. The idea behind the khadi board’s free-of-cost training was to empower them with skills to earn a living.
Kanchan Kumari, one of the 10-member squad, said she learnt how to sew khadi shirts and reel and spin cocoon.
“After our training was over, we showed interest in joining the board so that we could earn some extra money to fund our education and support our families,” the first-year arts student said.
Kanchan added she made between Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000 a month. “I am supporting my two brothers and a sister. My father can’t work after being paralysed,” she added.
Second-year commerce student Sunila Kumari had a similar tale to narrate.
“Every year, we need money to fill forms before college examinations. Earlier, we had to borrow the sum from our friends. But, after we were associated with the board, our financial problems were solved to an extent.
Sushma Sarkar, a final-year arts student, said the khadi board had provided sewing machines. Each girl stitched two to three shirts a day. “For each shirt, we receive Rs 100-Rs 150, depending on size,” said Sushma.
Jharkhand Khadi and Village Industries Board chairman Jainandu said their main aim was to help youths find a source of livelihood.
“We provide free-of-cost training to these youngsters from needy backgrounds but with the zeal to better their circumstances. Currently, there are 3,000 such youngsters who are being trained. We decided to bring along a few of them to the fair so that they get a big platform to showcase their skills,” he said.