Since 2019, Semiahmoo Rotarian Manjit Johal has been leading The Capacity Building Free Sewing Program to empower young girls in the village of Chuheki, India. The project is supported by the Rotary Clubs of Jullundur South, India, and Semiahmoo (White Rock), BC, Canada.
This program provides six months of free training in sewing to young women of the village, and following a sewing skill test, graduates are each presented with a manual sewing machine. To date, 33 girls have been trained and presented with sewing machines. Most of the graduates are now working with their sewing machines from their homes or helping in their existing family sewing shops. Some of the graduates also bring piecework from nearby towns to sew to earn extra money. A few girls are working in boutiques. Currently, there are 5 girls in training.
The Jullundur South Rotary Club provided certificates of the students, and also presented Rajni Bala a certificate as a recognition of her four years of teaching experience. The teacher and the graduates were all in tears.
In order to make the program self-sustaining, Manjit has taken the first step to move the learning center out of the boutique that it’s in and into an independent space. The new space Is about 20 feet by x18 feet. It is an old shop, with a metal shutter in the front. There is nothing inside yet - it needs, flooring, shelves, and most importantly, washrooms for the girls. The shop is in a good location, on the main road with lots of visibility and it is rent-free. It is hoped that the program will be able to support itself through sales of clothing items produced by the students.