Seven kilometers away from Baramulla town, few women donning veils sit in a small room, chatting, learning and earning. Women’s corner. Their own world, where they rule. Where they learn, earn besides gain religious knowledge also. Dilshaada Bano, a mother of three is running a free cutting and tailoring centre at her home in Kanispora. Watching girls treading a ‘wrong’ path at a nearby NGO centre, Dilshaada took a bold step way back in September 2014 by setting up a cutting and tailoring centre. She claims that she wanted to engage those girls who sit back home after finishing their studies besides poor and widows of this society. But space and money became the problem. She asked for help from her relatives and friends to start the centre.
“It is only because of my husband, who helped me, provided me all the needed support to establish this centre and to pay the salary of trainer. We have a problem here that the property belongs to men folk only. So a woman can’t do anything on her personal basis. Somewhere she has to seek support from her male partner. When this idea struck my mind, I asked for help and Alhamdullilah my husband and few of my relatives, friends provided me sewing machines and other requirements,” Dilshaada said.
After receiving few sewing machines, she opened “AJ Cutting, Tailoring and Quranic Centre” in a small room at her house as she was not is an position to take a room on rent. She believes if provided a space, she can engage thousands of women. Every other day women visit the centre for admissions but minimal space available stops her to accommodate more.
The women trainees who comprise of orphan, widowed, jobless are part of this centre, where besides cutting and tailoring they are gaining Islamic knowledge also. People who work here don’t need money yet and neither I charge them. It is a free training centre where women get training of cutting and tailoring besides Quranic teachings. Dilshaada says that she earlier charged them 100 rupees per month but when few were unable to pay, she never asked for again
The first batch from this one room ‘AJ Cutting, Tailoring and Quranic Centre’ comprised a group of 18 girls, who now earn and teach others. Presently, there are more than 15 women among whom few are well educated also.
“The pass outs from this centre earn good amount of money now. At least they are self dependent now and they can contribute towards the society in a better way. We always take the negatives out of the society, I must tell you these girls are so talented and religious that you only need to fine tune them. These are hidden gems,” said Dilshaada.
She believes when you have an urge to help the people around you, you have to take the first step. Money is the worst thing that happened to this world but money is also a way out. The ailments within society have left women disabled and I think when a woman is self independent and when she earns, she can live a happy life.
Tahira Sofi, hailing from Jahama, a small village of Baramulla district, who along with her two sisters, Raziya and Farhana, embroider shawls. With extreme patience and dexterity they craft beauty on these shawls. Tahira says that she is happy with the work as she can do it at home, while doing other household chores simultaneously.
Zareena Bano, 22, from Chahla, Boniyar leaves early morning with Roshana and Mirjaan in deep forests to collect puffballs (Kanne Pappar), a way of helping their households. It takes them complete two days to collect few kilos of puffballs which they later sell in the market at a meager rate of 150/kg.
Javeeda Khan, headmistress from Khwajabagh Baramulla, has opened a fitness club for women near Jetty Road Khawabagh. She wishes to see women fit in all respects. I feel bad when I see even the teens suffering from health issues like obesity, diabetes, depression.
Bisma Bashir, 23, a media graduate from Baramulla Degree College besides running a boutique namely ‘Zuhr’ at Kanthbagh Baramulla is a private teacher and also is pursuing masters in English through IGNOU. She wants to be an inspiration for the girls who aspire to try their luck in business sector.