Uplifting the Gond Tribal Women
Seventeen women have participated in an eight-month training program of tailoring, stitching and making clothes. Upon completion of the program at the Narayanpur Sewing Training Center in India, opened last year by the Open Doors’ Community and Lifestyle Development project, each woman was awarded a certificate.
This project, which began August 1, 2013, was started specifically in Narayanpur to uplift and empower the women of the Gond tribe who often spend their entire lives in depressed conditions. While there are Christian women among the students, the project’s primary beneficiaries are non- Christian neighbors. The sewing project and other community-oriented project have been initiated not only to address the dire economic situation of local families, regardless of their faith, but also so that the church can fulfill its calling to be salt and light while contributing positively to the surrounding community.
The program targets the large population of women in rural areas where there are no opportunities for them to learn new skills. Since most women have no education or job skills, men are the sole breadwinners for the household.
Their common means of livelihood are hunting, fishing, collecting forest products and agriculture. Since the agricultural land is not very productive, these Christian families are extremely limited in their sources of income.
“Daily, I had to labor for a living; I wanted to do something better. But with no professional skills, I had no choice,” says Rambatti Dugga, 20. After attending the Narayanpur Sewing Training Center program, Rambatti, who comes from the Gond tribe of Narayanpur, a district of the Indian State of Chhattisgarh, now has a new life. “I am so grateful to Open Doors for starting this in our vicinity. I traveled from Krushnar village to attend this program, and today, I can start my own business,” added Rambatti.
“I have learned cutting and stitching clothes in this training program, and this will help me get a job and earn my livelihood,” said Sangeeta Kachhap.
Sukma Nag lives in Sulenga, Narayanpur and has two sons and a daughter. Her pastor husband does cultivation to support their family. Sukma deeply desired to help her husband by adding to the family income, but says that due to her physical weakness, “nobody would hire me for a job.” Sukma was overjoyed when she heard about the tailoring training center, which trained her to make good and useful garments. “Because of this sewing training, I have a skill which will help me earn enough to support my family,” she adds thankfully.
Deepika Elkana, 20, also a Christian, has benefited from the training.
The sewing training project has not only mobilized married women, but also empowered young girls, helping them become independent and economically self-sustaining. “When you impart a skill to a woman, she does not keep it to herself, but passes it on to other ladies in her village and other villages, thus being a benefit to the community,” concludes the Open Doors coordinator overseeing this project in that area.
The community of Narayanpur is looking forward to seeing the results with the next group of students in the sewing training project that began on August 1, 2014.
Father, thank You for these young women who have been trained with a skill that will help keep their families out of poverty. We pray that You will grant them favor and success in their communities and empower them to train other women, as well. We pray for Your church, that through this project and other opportunities of ministry, they will be salt, vigorously impacting their communities with the redeeming work of Christ. And we pray that she will be a beacon of light dispelling spiritual darkness and shedding light on the path to Christ. Continue to grow Your church in India, from these rural communities to the major cities; that the name of Christ may be proclaimed across the nation with power and authority. In the name of Jesus, whose light of hope we reflect to a world of despair, Amen.