Sarvamangala, 38, is from Bevanahalli village in Mandya district, Karnataka. Formerly a homemaker, she now works as a tailor at the Kyathumgere unit. Her husband passed away three years ago, and she now supports herself financially. She has two sons; one of whom is completing his diploma; the other works in Bangalore. Their family has two acres of farm land, but they are not able to make much use of it due to a lack of irrigation.
Every day, Sarvamangala wakes up between 5:00 and 5:30 a.m. From 6:00 to 7:00, she works in the field, and then prepares breakfast and does household chores. Nowadays, instead of being at home all day, she takes the bus to the Kyathumgere tailoring unit by 9:00 in the morning. She has been working as a tailor since October 2017, after she received training from Industree Foundation. She says she is happy to work with a community of women, which is a big change from before her association with Industree, when she says she wasn’t doing anything after completing the household work and looking after cattle.
Sarvamangala says, “Ever since I started working here, I’ve learnt new skills and I get to spend time with other women. This place is close to my home and so it’s more convenient to work here than in a garment factory.” She adds that the women in her self-help group are very helpful, and that the Gram Panchayat is supportive of their work. However, she states that community members do not always encourage women to work outside of their homes. Sarvamangala hopes to see that mindset change.
She dreams of building her own house one day, and works to support her son to complete his education successfully. She wants to motivate other women to work and contribute to women’s empowerment. Overall, Sarvamangala says that since her unit is a producer-owned company, things are relatively flexible and she feels free to work according to her convenience, in contrast with garment factories.