Rekha Disha2Watching us approach her shop, 35-year-old Rekha Devi’s husband, Ashok Kumar, left in haste while she sat hunched over her sewing machine table, jotting down measurements for a small number of customers in her work diary. He was quick to return, carrying with him a tray full of water glasses and some sweets.

“As soon as she returned from the training I told her: You take care of the shop and I’ll handle the household chores. What’s wrong with a man doing house work,” he declares emphatically.

“I’m thankful to have such a progressive family. This was one of the foremost things told to us during the training, that the business will definitely flourish if the family supports us,” says Rekha.

Rekha Devi is one of the many women of the Rewari district of Haryana who are a part of UNDP’s DISHA project being implemented by HPPI. Her husband works as a daily labourer and with her three children and aging in-laws, the family of seven gets by on modest earnings.

“I was informed about the project by a friend and after the three-day training session, I decided to open the tailoring shop as I was comfortable with this work,” she says.

With tailors lacking in the village, Rekha Devi’s business was an instant hit and looking at the demand from her clients, the enterprising woman quickly bought a new picot machine to decorate the helms of the garments she made.

Since she opened the shop following her training, the monthly family income, which was about Rs. 3,500 earlier has gone up to Rs. 7,500.

“I owe it all to the training received under the DISHA project. We were informed of various customer service and value addition methods to bolster the business and attract customers. I can now notice that the tailors in the market a few kilometres away do not pay much attention to these details. I’m confident in a few months their business will also be coming my way,” says Rekha through an impish giggle.

Rekha Disha3

When asked about her plans for future, she was equally confident.

“Firstly, I will start getting the raw material in bulk from Delhi where it is much cheaper compared to the Rewari main market. Secondly, I want to put some more racks in the shop and start selling some cosmetic items as there is high demand for them. And lastly, I will put up a glass door and a shutter outside the shop. My father-in-law has been very supportive to let me sit at a shop without a ghunghat with strangers walking around. I think the glass door will put his mind at ease,” she says.

As we begin to leave, Ashok steps forward to see us off, the words ‘Adventure Spirit’ printed on his shirt. In this nondescript Rewari village, the shirt seemed to have found its rightful owner in this hero of feminism, with an equally adventurous wife.

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About HPPI

Humana People to People India is a development organization registered as a not-for-profit company under section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956 as of 21st May 1998. It is a non-political, non-religious organization. Its mission is to unite with people in India in order to create development in the broadest sense through the implementation of the projects that aim at transferring knowledge, skills and capacity to individuals and communities who need assistance to come out of poverty and other dehumanizing conditions.

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