Meet Ms. Chhaya Thakur, a promising producer from Jammu, India who embarked on a journey that would forever change the lives of countless women of her community. Before the intervention, Ms. Chhaya, like many others, grappled with the harsh realities of limited opportunities and financial insecurity. With unwavering determination and boundless spirit, she embraced the opportunity offered by her organization, Sharshid Overseas Private Limited, in collaboration with Fairtrade NAPP. 

With the help of Fairtrade Gender Leadership School, Ms. Chhaya and fellow members have launched a Stitching Center project in 2023. The all-female-led initiative empowers women by equipping them with sewing skills. Three Sewing Centers now stand proudly in Satrayan, Balah, and Makwal. Each center has focused on training 40 women respectively from their local communities throughout 2023. To date, they have completed four training batches in Satrayan, one in Balah, and one in Makwal. In Satrayan, each batch consisted of 10 women, while the other two centers trained 20 women per batch. Through tireless dedication, 80 women have undergone training that equip them with valuable stitching skills and knowledge essential for securing sustainable income sources in the future. 

Due to climate change, farmers are facing hinderances in the growth and cultivation process of the crops. Farmers in Jammu today faces the dark reality of seasonal abnormalities that disrupts the financial stability of their income and livelihood. Hence, the women are providing crucial financial support during these times by harnessing their newfound expertise to craft household sewing items and minor products. Today, these women stand tall as self-reliant entrepreneur by stitch dress materials for neighbours, relatives, and beyond. With additional income, Ms. Chhaya is now able to invest in education, healthcare, and improving their living conditions that ensures a brighter future. Additionally, they can save for emergencies. As Ms. Chhaya and her peers prepare to become trainers themselves, the ripple effects of their empowerment continue to ignite a hope in every corner of their community.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s take a moment to honour and support women like Ms. Chhaya, who have taken proactive steps to enhance their livelihoods. Ms. Chhaya’s journey exemplifies the resilience, determination, and empowerment that women worldwide embody every day. It is about reclaiming agency, fostering independence, and rewriting the narrative of women’s empowerment in India.  

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