The Telegraph
Tuesday , October 2 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Stitching lives and tailoring a new future

- Raymond training centre imparts free lessons to 150 underprivileged youths

Six months ago, Shama Bano required two months to stitch a shirt. Nawada resident Babli Kumari did not know how to eke out a living even in April this year.

But in a matter of months, the loose ends of their lives have been stitched together. Today, Shama, 19, stitches the same shirt in just two hours and Babli, 17, dreams of teaching people how to stitch in another five years.

Situated on the premises of Industrial Training Institute, Digha, a training centre of Raymond Limited is shaping the future of 150 underprivileged children, turning them into a “different person”. The institute, which was inaugurated on May 15 this year by company chairman-cum-managing director Gautam Hari Singhania, is imparting stitching lessons to these children free of cost.

“My family never wanted me to go outside and learn anything. Even my mother asked me to stay away from such sessions as these things are not accepted in our community. But I argued with my parents and enrolled in this centre in May itself. I never wanted to depend on anyone,” Shama said.

So, can she feel the difference?

“I was never confident of stitching. Now I take just two hours to give a shirt a brand new design. I know I will never have to struggle for survival now,” she said.

Set up at a cost of Rs 40 crore, this is the first such centre in India, where children are trained in three year-long courses: shirt, trousers and coat making.

When The Telegraph visited the centre, it found 112 girls and 38 boys busy working on their respective pieces of cloth.

“Before joining this centre, I used to roam around aimlessly with my friends. I was never focused on my career, mainly because of lack of guidance. I can say that I am a different person now. I am confident of opening a tailoring outlet. As of now, I will certainly get a job once the course is complete,” said Chandu, 18, the son of an autorick-shaw driver.

All necessary items are being provided to the students free of cost. Many students were impressed after they saw the power driven machine, imported from China, for the first time.

Tailoring lessons apart, the training centre of Raymond is also imparting lessons on personality development, communication skills, computers and a basic knowledge of international design.

“Once they pass out of this centre, they should be ready to face the world. Therefore, it becomes very important to groom them from all angles. Personality development classes have been organised for this purpose,” Shirin Parveen, the personality grooming teacher at the centre, said.

The classes are held from 9am to 5pm from Monday to Saturday.

“We never get bored of the classes. The institute has become a second home for us,” said Amit Anand, 17, a resident of Darbhanga.

Vice-president, Raymond Limited, Ram Bhatnagar, told The Telegraph over phone from Mumbai: “Tailoring is an ancient art but it has become a part of glamour now. Opening of the training centre in the state is just a step to popularise the art of tailoring. Bihar has tremendous calibre in the field of textile and it our privilege to work with a state that has given us full support.”

He added that a workshop will be organised, which would help all these 150 children with job opportunities.