Stitches for livelihood

Rotary Singer Skill Development Centre at Sai Dham, Faridabad.
Rotary Singer Skill Development Centre at Sai Dham, Faridabad.

Sushma, Shreya, Rashmi and 20 other women are studiously engaged in bringing to life yards of cloth at the Rotary Singer Skill Development Centre at Sai Dham in Faridabad near Delhi. While Sushma and Shreya are creating patches of vibrant embroidery on cloth on their Fashion Maker machines, Rashmi is pedaling to bring out a neat-fit kurta from a Singer foot machine.

“I’ve learnt to design salwars, kurtas and blouses in various patterns. I can also do embroidery on the neck and sleeve lines. Look at what I am wearing. Isn’t it like straight out of a boutique,” asks Sushma, proudly displaying  her perfectly fitted bright maroon salwar suit decorated with a yellow and blue embroidered neckline. She can’t be more correct. It does look like a boutique material.

My sister is already employed in a boutique after completing the course and is earning well.

These women are part of at least 4,000 enterprising women who are being trained in sewing and creative designing by the Rotary clubs of Districts 3011 and 3012, through their Rotary Singer Skill Development Centres. The Sai Dham centre is chaired by Rtn Motilal Gupta of RC Faridabad Central.

These centres are the result of an agreement between Singer India and Rotary, where Singer provides the sewing machines to Rotary clubs at 50 per cent cost and helps set up the skill development centre to train women in tailoring and machine embroidery. This initiative was born out of a discussion between Rtn Vinit Vidyarthi of RC Delhi Central, D 3011, and Singer’s Managing Director Rajeev Bajaj about Singer’s CSR programmes. ­Vidyarthi took it forward with the then DG Sanjay Khanna of the undivided District 3010, who formally launched the first centre in July 2014 at the Delhi Public School campus, Greater Noida. This centre is promoted by RC Delhi Riverside, D 3012.


Forty-three centres have been set up since then around Delhi NCR and a few at Dehradun and Chandigarh in the neighbouring District 3080, with support from IPDG David Hilton. More recently, one such centre promoted by RC Rohtak Scholars was inaugurated by DG N Subramanian at the Scholars Rosary School campus in Rohtak.

The skill development centres focus on training underprivileged women in tailoring to help them become financially independent and contribute to the family income.  Many of these women are now employed in textile units, boutiques and big tailoring units.

The setup

Singer provides the faculty, curriculum, furniture, signboards with Rotary and Singer logos, accessories such as scissors, threads, cloth etc for the students and also does servicing of the machines. The Rotary club has to identify the locality where there is need and pay the rent for the centre, while Singer does the interiors. Much care goes into the selection of the premises as Singer insists on having women-centric facilities such as washrooms and safe locality. Each centre will have 25 machines with at least 10-15 Fashion Maker models.

“More women are interested to learn machine embroidery; therefore, there is a demand for those models,” says Vidyarthi. Singer collects Rs 300 from each trainee towards admission and examination fees. This is to ensure regular attendance and a sense of commitment from them. Three-month certificate and six-month diploma courses are conducted, and certified by Singer after due examinations. The classes are of two-hour duration, five days a week in three batches. “The certificate is valuable; my sister is already employed in a boutique after completing the course and is earning well,” says Shreya.

The company extends the 50 per cent concession to students who desire to purchase a sewing machine after completion of the course. “A deluxe foot machine costs Rs 3,000 while a Fashion Maker is Rs 10,000. So the discount will be a boon for these women,” says Vidyarthi.

Districts and Rotary clubs who want to set up a Rotary Singer Skill Development Centre in their area can contact DGSC Vinit Vidyarthi at ­ or Mobile: 9810111912.

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