I visited TRUST project today. This project #13 of 2006 report "Skill Training of Children." Their tailoring program is going well. Tailoring teacher Laxmi showed the samples of umbrella frocks and border designs they make and market. There were six children with three sewing machines. Two of them Chaitra and Shoba were working the machines and others Vijaya Laxmi, Somya, Laxmi and Sukanya were basically cutting patterns for stitching. They have been able to sell to 4-5 local tailor shops. About eight trained students have been employed in a local company - Mohan & Company (Exports). Ltd. They have also taken some helpers and trainees from the TRUST to work in their company. The teacher Laxmi said they have made 32 border designs that have been used for sarees and frocks. The three machines are used by the graduated trainees in the evenings to stitching clothes for their home use and to market. I have taken some pictures of the samples on display.
Then we went upstairs where there was a class going on "Screen Printing." Previous teacher Pushpa got married and left. Mr. Madhusudan said they hired a new trainer from a vocational training school to teach the children. There were about 25 students in class mostly young kids, and a few adults. They are mainly making business cards for local printing shops. One company, Anu Graphics is giving them some business. They have also tried making printed shopping hand bags, letters with printed letter heads. Mr. Madhusudan said that it has not been a profitable venture. This is mainly due to digital printing on computers.
There was no active work that was going on in Book Binding. But they did have sample of work being done. It was mainly binding of account books, school text books. Mr. Madhusadan said this has been marginally profitable. They have had 10-15 orders of 100 books each, but not on a continual basis. I have taken some pictures of the sample work.
Then we went to Bandepalya Village also on the outskirts of Bangalore. Here Mr. Madhusudan is trying to replicate the Hulimavu tailoring scheme that PPI supported. Local community council asked him to get it started in three slum areas and provided a place and three sewing machines. When we went there, there were two machines and the third one was expected at the end of the month. I met the Program manager Mr. Tippu Swamy, local women organizer Ms. Uma and the teacher Ms. Lalitha and about 20 adult students. They all seemed keen and want to make this project a success. The training class has just started and runs from 4-6 PM. Mr. Madhusudan said if this is successful, the local municipality wants to extend this to six other places. TRUST is paying Rs.2000/month to the tailor and the organizer out of their own funds.
Mr. Madhusudan also wanted us to look favorably to his new proposal where he want to do some non-formal training in different villages. I did not commit to any thing except to say that I have forwarded the proposal by e-mail for the members to look at. I hope this is being done. He is doing good work among the poor.
On a side note, I had a long chat with Dr. Parameshwara Rao of Bhagathavula Charitable Trust (BCT) with whom we had worked years ago. It was nice to hear from this wonderful visionary. He remembered many of the old timers at PPI and wished them greetings. He is still very busy with his work at BCT in villages near Vishakapattanam doing village development work and wanted us to visit him. Hopefully, I will be able to make it next time.
March 5, 2007