Enhancing women’s livelihoods through tailoring

Three years after Dechen Yangzom, 22, from Jakar village in Bumthang left school, she sees some scope in her life.

Undergoing a tailoring training in Bumthang that started yesterday by Respect, Educate, Nurture, and Empower Women (RENEW), she said she can now open a tailoring shop in Chamkhar town.

Dechen had to drop out of school in 2014 after she could not qualify for higher studies. She stayed at home with her parents.

She said she could join the training after her former women teachers, who are members of the community based support service (CBSS) of RENEW, recommended her.

Dechen Zangmo said she could not help her parents since she was unemployed for a few years. She is optimistic that she can open a tailoring shop in Chamkhar or work at home.

She expects that with so many festivals in Bumthang, the tailoring shop will do well. She said the training would impart the most necessary skill.

There are five tailoring shops in Bumthang today.

Like Dechen, there are 15 other women from different dzongkhags who are currently undergoing the second batch of skills development training.

Lemo, 36, from Chapcha is another trainee.

She said tailoring doesn’t require much money to start with.

She also said that the benefit of the training should be measured in terms of monetary income. “If we could stich our house members clothes, it will benefit us.

Lemo said she is also committed to impart the skill to others interested.

Another trainee, Choki Dema, 35, from Bumthang said she plans to stitch tegos, kiras and wonjus since there is more demand today. “I can keep working at home if I cannot not open a tailoring shop,” the mother of three said.

The three-month training, coordinated by the multi-sectoral task force and CBSS, is conducted in a house belonging to the dzongkhag administration. Fida International is funding the training.

Bumthang dzongdag Phub Tshering, during the inaugural address, told the participants that they should make the most of the opportunity. “RENEW is conducting the training with the aim to make women self-reliant. If women benefit, society benefits too.”

CBSS coordinator, Pema Choki said RENEW trained 22 women in the first batch of which 16 have formed a cooperative and started working. “They work in turns due to inadequate space.”

She said the second training was initiated based on the results of the first batch.

Pema Choki said there were many who actually registered for the training but a committee conducted a selection. “The training would continue in the future depending upon the availability of fund and the need felt among the people,” she said.

She also said training is aimed at empowering and enhancing livelihood skills of women in the community

Meanwhile, male participants also pledged to support women empowerment activities in the dzongkhag.

Nima Wangdi | Chamkhar

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