Skilling Anew – Women to the Fore

Parseoni is a smallish Taluka town in Nagpur District. There’s a sense of quietude here that leaves you wondering what all the city rush is all about. It would almost be akin to the land of the lotus eaters. The tranquil haze of a rain drenched day with monsoon greenery in full play has you wondering what could be wrong with this idyllic environment.

Well wrong there is. It’s only after a while that you realise that life here is like gnats buzzing together round and round in circles, billowing up and down in a cloud, with the wind. You have no where to go. Eat, sleep and get up to another typical day that offers nothing new. Life in cyclic routine, living the same old life leaves the young ones feeling especially woebegone.

The start to a sewing training programme for young women creates quite a stir in town. Groups of females walk down the 11/2 km stretch of road outside the town to reach the venue. They show keenness to try there hand at learning a craft. Anything that will make them earn some supplemental income. With no jobs and nothing on the horizon by way of self employment, it is the service sector perhaps that has a chance to take off. So learning skills becomes essential.

The motley group of college girls, young married women and even middle aged housewives enjoyed the camaraderie of spending time in the company of trainers who were teaching them stitching craft. Each of the five groups sat on pedal foot machines to exhibit their skills on a sewing machine even as the others watched patiently for the craft items to take shape.

We are overwhelmed by this enthusiastic response. Women prove that they are open to learning and re-learning. Or even un-learning at times. Things that they used to do in a particular ways earlier, have changed tack and they learn ways to do things anew. This awareness and openminded-ness appears to be a good sign. A sign of the times to come.

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