Culture & Heritage

Stitching Lives Together: The Empowering Threads of Madura Manufacturing’s SAMARTH Program

by ABFRLadmin | May 30, 2024

We at ABFRL, present excerpts from our internal newsletter “InTouch”, where we celebrate stories of our people, their success stories and their contributions.

How Industry and Government come together and empower thousands of lives through SAMARTH

Deep within the vibrant tapestry of India’s bustling textile industry, a single thread glimmers with an intensity that surpasses the shimmer of silk or the richness of cotton. This thread, woven from hope, grit, and the unyielding spirit of countless women, is the SAMARTH program – a collaborative masterpiece birthed by the Ministry of Textiles and ABFRL. More than just a training initiative, SAMARTH is a transformative journey, stitching together not just garments, but the destinies of women whose paths were once defined by hardship.

Imagine stepping into a classroom unlike any other. The rhythmic hum of sewing machines fills the air, punctuated by the determined murmurs of its students. Here, 99% of the faces peering back at you belong to women, many bearing the quiet strength of those who have weathered life’s storms. Their average age? A mere 21, yet they stand poised at the precipice of an empowering metamorphosis. This is the essence of SAMARTH, where threads of hardship unravel, replaced by the vibrant hues of self-sufficiency.

The program unfolds like a blooming lotus, its initial 20% dedicated to nurturing the theoretical foundations of textiles. Yet, its true spirit lies in the realm of the practical. For 80% of the 300-hour journey, the learning environment transforms into a bustling workshop. Under the watchful guidance of skilled mentors, nimble fingers dance with needles and thread, coaxing fabrics into form. Each stitch is a brushstroke on the canvas of their future, meticulously building their skillset, brick by brick.

But like any worthwhile journey, the path isn’t without its thorns. The pandemic’s shadow cast a long and disruptive shadow, leading to a concerning 45% dropout rate. However, the spirit of SAMARTH, much like the resilient fabric its trainees work with, refused to fray. By 2023, that number had significantly reduced to 25%, a testament to the program’s unwavering commitment and the indomitable spirit that defines it.

The story takes an even more intriguing turn when we delve into the reason behind some dropouts. Fashion companies, recognizing the burgeoning talent nurtured by SAMARTH, were actively headhunting these women even before they completed the program. While this posed a challenge for continuity, it stands as a powerful validation of the program’s success. These women, once considered unskilled, were now coveted resources, their abilities recognized and sought after.

The impact of SAMARTH transcends individual transformations. Imagine communities around factories and warehouses in Karnataka, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu – places where opportunities were scarce, and dreams seemed distant. Now, thanks to this program, thousands of women from these very communities have found stable employment. They are no longer bound by limitations; they are the weavers of their own destinies, their earnings uplifting not just themselves, but their families and communities.

The program not only equips each woman with valuable skills but also instills a sense of confidence they would otherwise never know they possessed. Today, their income allows them to provide for families, send younger siblings to school, and even dream of starting their own small business someday. Each story is just one thread in the intricate tapestry woven by SAMARTH, a testament to the program’s power to rewrite narratives.

But the journey doesn’t end here. The program envisions a future where the empowering threads of SAMARTH reach even further, touching the lives of countless more women. With continued collaboration and support, this initiative can expand its reach, stitching together a brighter future, not just for individuals, but for the entire social fabric of India.

Imagine the ripple effect: empowered women building secure futures for themselves and their families, contributing to local economies, and inspiring generations to come. This is the potential held within the threads of SAMARTH, a program that goes beyond skills training and becomes a catalyst for societal transformation.

Meet Jeetendra Kumar (extreme right), the SAMARTH Co-ordinator across all 9 factories, spearheading the learning initiatives at the Advanced Training Centres. (ATCs)

So, next time you see a garment bearing the mark of quality and care, remember the invisible thread woven into its very fabric – the thread of hope, resilience, and empowerment stitched by the women of SAMARTH. Their story is an ode to the human spirit, a testament to the power of opportunity, and a beacon of inspiration for us all.

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