In an increasingly mechanised and digital world, some vocations don’t require any form of alteration. This is the story of Poonam Uniyal, a 25 year old woman from the tiny village of Haripur Kalan, in Uttarakhand, about 8 km Haridwar.
Poonam, a student of AIM for Seva Sewing centre in Haripur Kalan, Uttarakhand is married to Ravi, who works as a driver. After her father’s death, her mother could not afford to send her to school. So Poonam’s education stopped after her 10th board examination. What compounded matters was that in her region only 12% of the students attained higher secondary enrolments. So circumstances at home coupled with the overall macro educational indicators resulted in Poonam ending up doing household chores.
In due course, Poonam tied the knot and her husband encouraged her to to join a vocational course. “He felt such a course would make me financially independent and I could also contribute to the family of eight as well,” says Poonam who joined the centre last November. “But that didn’t mean that I could forego my domestic chores. I complete all my work and go for class,” she adds.
As per Census of India 2011, Haripur Kalan is the second smallest census town in the sub-district, Dehradun in Uttarakhand with about ten thousand people residing in the area. “In spite of being in Dehradun, one of the most popular tourist destinations in India, the lives of the inhabitants are engulfed in various economical, social and detrimental factors of everyday life,” states the report.
AIM for Seva Sewing Centre in Haripur Kalan, Uttarakhand is one of our special projects established in 2002 to cater to students like Poonam. It offers a one year diploma degree in tailoring. Classes are held every day from 3-5 pm, except Sundays. The centre currently has nine students and the classes are supervised by Smt. Mamta Joshi. All of them including Poonam have completed the basics of knitting and have now moved to the next level of designing blouses and kurtas. “I draw inspiration from the emerald hills and silver clouds, the perched meadows and the patterns that they naturally create. I implement these in my designs,” shares Poonam with a smile.
The smile gives way to a forlorn look as Poonam feels sad that she could not complete her education. Nevertheless, she is grateful that AIM for Seva came into her life and opened doors to enable her to lead a self-reliant life. For her, this tailoring training has been a God send opportunity to remove her from the shackles of poverty. “It has given me confidence and empowered me socially as well as economically.”
The pedals of the sewing machine roll constantly as she talks; her head bent down concentrating on the path of the cloth that is constantly being pricked by the needle. Poonam stops for a while, raises her head and says, “I want to become a fashion designer. After I finish the course, I want my life to move ahead like this running cloth – fast and fearless.” Truly bespoke.