The Telegraph
Saturday , February 15 , 2014
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Fete power for women’s skill

Four years ago, Kiran Mishra didn’t have any job. A matriculation degree holder, Kiran did not even consider herself eligible for any post. But today she has a decent income.

Thanks to Srijani, her life has completely changed.

The non-government organisation, to help such women showcase their skills, is holding a three-day exhibition of its spring summer collection, Rangotsav, at College of Arts and Crafts till Sunday between 10.30am and 8pm.

Kiran, one of Srijani’s members, said: “I joined the organisation in 2010, which changed my life. After picking up the skill of stitching and traditional embroidery such as sujani, appliqué and khatwa, I make cushion covers, bedsheets and saris. Now, I earn around Rs 8,000-Rs 9,000 a month. Thanks to Srijani, which helped me to earn my bread and lent me a new identity.”

Kiran doesn’t need to work because she hails from a well-to-do family but the fact that she is not dependent on her family is what is most gratifying to her.

Srijani works for the empowerment of women by teaching them various skills and marketing their handmade products.

Fifty-five-year-old Kusum Singh started working with Srijani three years ago but faced resistance from her family initially. “My husband and my in-laws were against the idea of my working with Srijani. My husband is a businessman and my son is a supervisor in a noted company. So my family members asked me what was the need of working when I had every comfort at home. But I joined Srijani. Now, all are proud that I earn money on my own merit,” said Kusum.

Kiran and Kusum are two of the many women selling their handmade products in Rangotsav.

The fete is showcasing hand-embroidered saris in eye-catching colours, bamboo lamps, Madhubani paintings, bedcovers, cushion covers, earrings, mobile covers and hundreds of other items.

While hand-embroidered saris are being sold for Rs 2,000 to Rs 9,000, pen stands are available at Rs 180 and mobile covers for Rs 100 to Rs 300.

“The hand-embroidered saris, a blend of tussar silk and organza, are one of the main attractions of this exhibition. Available in beautiful colours, they can match well with the spring. The other stuff are also all handwoven,” said Veena Upadhyay, the proprietor of Srijani and the organiser of the exhibition.

Upadhyay said: “This collection has put together by women and adolescent girls. Each of them is proud to get recognition for their job. This exhibition reflects the true picture of women’s empowerment.”

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