21 year old Kaviben is from the Rebari community and lives in Kotay village in Bhuj district of Gujarat. The Rebari’s are a nomadic community from Rajasthan and during earlier days they used to move around in search of fodder for their goat, sheep and cattle. Today most of the Rebaris are settled in and around Bhuj of Gujarat.
What distinguishes her from many others in her community is her intense desire to improve her and her family’s life from poverty to a life of financial independence. Her husband works as a driver and his income has always been irregular and insufficient to meet the needs of the 7 member family. The nomadic characteristics of Rebari community have resulted in many children, especially girls, in dropping out from the schools and hence Kaviben too did not complete her school. Kaviben learnt it through the hard way that poverty and low literacy for girls in the context of social life of Rajasthan (or elsewhere too) could mean a life of hardship and drudgery.
During her childhood, like most Rebari girls of her age she learnt embroidery, something that she genuinely enjoyed doing. Later she got associated with the NGO named Kala Raksha (presently the partner NGO of UIL in implementing the Usha Silai School Program). Her entrepreneurial skills and the zest to make a difference to her life made her the Women Entrepreneur of choice and hence she was identified for the 7 day residential training on sewing and stitching.
Today, Kaviben is running the Usha Silai School in her Kotay village. Presently, she teaches 5 learners and charges Rs 100 per month. 7 learners have already passed out from her school. Her embroidery skills married to the sewing and stitching skills that she acquired due to the training has helped her to accept a substantial number of job work from the community. This has augmented her income to approx. Rs 7000/- per month. Hence financial independence has eased her life substantially, something that she could not imagine at prior to the running of the Silai School in her village.
Her future plan is to expand her Silai School to accommodate more learners. She also desires to learn advanced sewing and stitching techniques.