By Shonali Ghosal
Married at just 13, Kiran Verma had a son a year later. Pretty soon, she also gave birth to two daughters. With reality hitting home hard and expenses rising, Kiran was forced to take up tailoring at home. In the beginning, she faced taunts from villagers, who said that only a man was entitled to work as a tailor, but Kiran kept at it. “When women customers came to me with material to stitch, they would tell me how they were ill-treated and oppressed at home. That’s when I felt the need to do something to help them,” she says. That was 12 years ago. Today, besides being a social worker for the non-government organisation, Child Rights and You (CRY), Kiran, 34, runs various projects that include teaching tailoring to girls in the age-group of 11-18 years in her village in Giridih district, Jharkhand. “It’s a cycle: when I teach four girls and they teach the women in their own villages, skills are passed on,” she says. Her other projects include a self-help group she started with a handful of local women who pool in their funds to set up small businesses, ranging from tailoring to packaging snacks and selling them. Kiran estimates that at least 400 women in the district have benefited through her various efforts so far.
Kiran can be reached at +91 91228 38837.