Separated by the chicken neck, the Northeast of India still remains secluded from rest of the country both culturally and geographically. Culturally rural women in these parts happen to be more liberated and independent, with a few communities like the Khasis being matriarchal societies. Lucy from a remote village in Mizoram is one such woman, who wanted to help her husband out financially.
A small time farmer, her husband cultivates maize over a limited area spread across the hilly and rugged slopes of the Himalayan foothills. To support the household and to ensure their daughter receives a proper education, Lucy started off as a vegetable vendor in the local market. Needless to say the income she generated wasn’t much, nor did it ease household pressure.
However, things changed when USHA along with a local NGO (Ferrando Integrated Development Centre) chose her to be trained in sewing under the USHA Silai School initiative. A hard-working and fast learner, Lucy mastered the craft within just seven days, going on to set up her own Silai School in the rolling wet slopes of the Mizo hills.
Till date Lucy has trained seven other women on sewing and embroidery, earning an average of Rs 3,000 per month. Village women also visit her to get their garments stitched. Equipped with just a basic sewing machine she collaborates with nearby tailors to design complicated dresses. She now, plans to invest on a more advanced sewing machine in order to run a self-sufficient business.