IL&FS & MRIDA: RAJLAKSHMI STITCHING CENTRE
The Rajlakshmi Stitching Centre provides an excellent example of the ‘Virtuous Circle’ in action. Once TahTajpur was electrified, the local Village Development Committee (VDC) began collecting monthly energy access fees from beneficiaries. A group of local village women applied for a loan from the committee to invest in advanced stitching training and subsequently to begin a centre of their own. Eight women completed the NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling) advanced stitching certification and founded the Rajlakshmi Stitching Centre in 2015.
Their first order, 120 sets of children’s uniforms for Panchi, an IL&FS supported school based in Delhi, eventually led to several such orders on a regular basis – from Panchi and from other customers, and helped make Rajlakshmi a financially viable and sustainable initiative.
In August 2016, Jaypore, an E-Commerce company based in New Delhi, partnered with the centre to make 500muslin bags which they used to package their customer orders. The firm was so satisfied with the product quality and the services rendered that their orders became a regular feature and the orders are ongoing. Apart from ‘institutional’ customers, the women also cater to their own clothing needs and accept orders from villages in the vicinity.
In Rajlaksmi, we have a group of women who are not only skilled, but who have used this skill to gain confidence, andin turn used this confidence to engage with outsiders and facilitate new partnerships. In short, they have become successful entrepreneurs. Energy access – its effective utilization – skill development –livelihoods – entrepreneurship – income generation – women’s empowerment –further plans for the future is truly a practical example of the ‘Virtuous Circle.’