Fifty kilometers from Trichy is a town called Musiri which is home to over 5000 weavers. They make silk and cotton sarees or veshti. However, many shifted to powerloom and those who could not afford are struggling to make their ends meet. So much so that, a powerloom weaver earns around Rs.65 per saree and make five sarees a week, but a weaver who makes sarees on handloom earns around Rs 350 per saree and is only able to make three sarees a week.
Nirmala, a widow, used to do agriculture related work apart from assisting her husband in zari thread winding. But after her husband passed away it was getting difficult for her to manage her household expenses. Nirmala took up tailoring classes at Digital Empowerment Foundation’s Manamedu Center.
After the completion of the course, she opened a shop and started stitching school uniforms, ladies suits and wedding dresses. Now, she is the most famous tailor in her community and earns around Rs 2000-3000 per month. At times like school opening and wedding season, she is able to earn around Rs 3000-5000 per month. To further enhance her skills, she even took up a short course on power machine tailoring. Her younger son now helps the center team in conducting surveys and training programmes.
The Manamedu Center has helped upskill many others like Nirmala in Musiri, Tamil Nadu.