We have made it. We have collected some money among friends and colleagues. Via betterplace, an online platform that helps to collect some money. Nothing special, nothing big. It takes just some time to describe the project and to ask friends to help. Even a few EUR make a big difference. In this case the support by friends was enough to finance two tailoring machines and two 12 week lasting tailoring courses with teachers who will help the tribal einen organized in self-help groups to do the first steps in producing some school uniforms, clothes and bags that can be sold. The idea came up when I stayed with these groups and we discussed how to push further the own income. Sure, there might have been some other, maybe even better ideas to set up a small business.
But when I discussed with them I realized that the most interest and engagement of the women themselves was to start with tailoring. That’s what they could imagine and where they directly started to plan how it could work. “If we had a machine, we could put it into our
community room and in the evening work here,” said one of them. “Oh yes, that’s a safe place and here we have also light. And a door we can lock….,” added another women. The excitement was immediately there. Spontaneously, I promised them to try to find a solution… It is more than just the materials to make change happen. It’s the people motivation that counts a lot, as well.
Now, a few weeks ago we have brought the sewing machines to two tribal villages. When we arrived with the jeep in the first village the women had gathered and expected us. They had drawn a very nice ‘rangoli’ at the entrance of their community room. They had put a small inauguration ribbon at the door which we had to cut. They smiled – brightly and happy. They sat in front of the sewing machine, curiously tried to understand the single functionalities. It was a more private celebration, no big drums, no visitors or external staff – just ca. fifteen tribal women, the two project managers and driver from the NGO who always come with me and make that much possible and myself. The teacher would have come the same afternoon to start with the first lesson….
They were happy, and we were it, too. In the second village it was similar. It was a special day. For them – and for me. When I left they promised me that when I would come back in a few months they would have tailored something for me. Something very nice.
Well, let’s see. I would be very happy to see that they have done a step forward – a step to gain own income, to gain self- confidence and maybe with a new additional business idea. Help to self help – that’s what can become sustainable. In the right surrounding.
Many thanks to all those of you who have helped to make this happen!!!
PS: Today (26 May 2015), I got some photos from the tribal women who proudly present their first clothes. Really good to see 🙂