Jaipur, June 13, 2020.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote the story of Indian independence through introduction of Charkha loom.  The theory stands relevant today when India is working its way towards becoming “Atmanirbhar.”  National Sewing machine day is paving the way for specially-abled in tough times of COVID-19 and is showing them a way to contribute towards the idea of becoming Atmanirbhar.

As the global COVID-19 pandemic has hit, manybackline workers, men and women started sewing face masks for childrenand the needy. During such tough times, 5 differently-abled volunteers of NGO Narayan Seva Sansthan’s stitched more than 40,000 face masks and 525 PPE kits to serve the needy, railway employees, police, underprivileged people and daily wage earners.

A 28-year-old differently-abled man, Devendhar Lodhi from Sagar, Madhya Pradeshis also contributing to the campaign by sewing masks, while at the same time, getting trained at the Narayan Sewing Center in Udaipur. Devendhar says that today, we feel that we are not the only contributing to the society, but we are also able to make ourselves more skilled which will help us in earning a better livelihood.

Another 27-year-old differently-abled man,VikasGargfrom Delhi, feels that there is a stigma and general perception in the society that sewing is essentially a woman’s job and men should not get indulged in it. But thankfully, the times have changed and together,men and women are bothcelebrating National Sewing Machine Day and contributing to the society. VikasGargis also inspired by the Bollywood movie, Sui Dhaaga, which shows how a couple sewing business providing more employment opportunities in the society started.

Prashant Agarwal, President, Narayan SevaSansthan shared an experience from his childhood, “When I was a child, we used to have our favourite tailorwho stitched ourschool uniforms, festival and weddings attires, even when there was no electricity available. The tailor worked tirelessly all day with a broad smile on his face.It is high time that we give them respect they rightfully deserve and extend our gratitude.According to the data available at Invest India, Textiles and apparel industry has grown up to $3.1 bnthrough FDI during 2018-19. Also, there are around 45 million people employed at present, and the number is expected to grow to 55 million, by the end of 2020.”

As peranother initiative of NSS, World of Humanity Center will be operational in 3 years’ time,the centre will provideskill trainings around Art & Craft, Sewing, Mobile Repairing and free basic education to make people employable.

On the National Sewing Machine Day, it would be interesting to note that, in the nineties, newly wedded women used to get sewing machine on their wedding to sew their own clothes and become Atmanirbhar, from the comfort of their homes. Gradually, time changed and machines went from women’s hands to men’s hands. Now, both contributing to the society by offering their services during the lock down.