Sharing skills and campaigning for girls’ education and training

Learning tailoring skills during vocational training, Rishmani is now not only a successful businesswoman but shares her skills and teaches other young women; both in tailoring and through workshops on the significance of education and training for girls and women.

Rishmani is using her sewing machine to make the clothes.
Rishmani is working in her shop sewing clothes.

In a remote corner of a rural hamlet, Rishmani, a resilient 24-year-old woman, works with determination to expand her own successful business, create more opportunities for young women and campaign to raise awareness of the importance of education and entrepreneurial training for girls and women. Forced into early marriage by societal pressures and a lack of opportunities for females in her community, Rishmani’s journey stands as an example of how with a little support and access to the education they deserve, this narrative can be changed for the girls of the future.

Overcoming obstacles

Rishmani’s journey began in the Plan International and Bheri Environmental Excellence Group’s Telethon: Child Not Bride project. She completed 65 days of intensive tailoring training, a 35-day internship, business development courses, and other critical training sessions. This initiative aimed to help her by equipping her with essential skills in tailoring, (a craft she already possessed) so that she had a profession through which to make a living and be financially independent.

Rishmani also participated in empowerment seminars and counselling sessions, which played a pivotal role in rebuilding her self-confidence and nurturing her entrepreneurial abilities. “Through determination, I turned societal constraints into stepping stones towards my dreams,” she told us.

Tailoring shop start-up

After 2 months of fundamental tailoring training and demonstrating a natural flair for sewing and design, Rishmani’s journey took a significant leap forward. Recognising her remarkable skills, the project provided her with further advanced training in tailoring techniques, business management, and financial literacy.

Armed with knowledge and expertise, she embarked on her entrepreneurial journey. With the assistance of sewing machines, textiles, and essential supplies, Rishmani transformed a modest corner of her home into a vibrant tailoring shop. Her ambition was to showcase her talents and provide her community with top-quality tailoring services.

“Through determination, I turned societal constraints into stepping stones towards my dreams.”


Building a customer base

Rishmani swiftly gained recognition in her community for her unwavering commitment and meticulous craftsmanship. Word of her skills spread, establishing her as the go-to tailor for clothing needs and school uniforms in the local area. Her ability to offer bespoke designs and impeccable workmanship earned her a loyal clientele.

Rishmani took on the role of an ‘instructor,’ mentoring 3 young female trainees for 2 months and earning an income from her teaching. To expand her reach, she planned to launch a Facebook profile, attracting customers from nearby villages and urban areas. Her unyielding dedication and commitment led to a consistent increase in orders and a growing reputation as a skilled tailor.

Rishmani arranging dresses in her shop.
Rishmani arranges dresses in her shop.

Economic projects and empowerment

As her tailoring business flourished, Rishmani reaped significant financial rewards. She pledged to ensure her younger siblings had access to quality education, breaking the cycle of limited opportunities that had once plagued her community. Her increased income not only secured her own future but also enabled her to invest in her family’s well-being and her children’s education.

She initiated daily savings, setting aside Rs. 200 (USD 1.5), proof of her newfound financial stability. Emerging as a formidable figure in her community, Rishmani organised awareness campaigns and workshops on the significance of education and entrepreneurship for girls and women.

Her journey empowered her to challenge societal norms and advocate for girls’ education and women’s economic independence. She courageously shared her personal experiences, inspiring others to confront challenges head-on and pursue their aspirations. Rishmani sharing the message, “Adversity may bend us, but it’s our resilience that shapes our destiny.”

“Adversity may bend us, but it’s our resilience that shapes our destiny.”


Impact and inspiration

Rishmani’s transformation from a child bride to a budding businesswoman not only provided economic prosperity but ignited hope and motivation within her community. Her inspiring narrative radiates positive energy and serves as a wellspring of inspiration. It encourages other young girls to dream big, defy societal norms, and believe in their potential.

Her tailoring business is steadily evolving into a symbol of women’s strength, resilience, and financial independence. Rishmani shattered stereotypes and questioned traditional gender roles through her entrepreneurial journey, opening doors for other women in her community to unlock their full potential.

The case study of Rishmani serves as a powerful illustration of the profound impact of support, initiative, and unwavering determination in transforming lives. Her evolution from a victim to an entrepreneur not only stabilised her economic footing but also inspired others to break free from the constraints of societal norms. Rishmani’s achievements stand as a source of inspiration, illuminating the boundless potential for success that resides within every individual.

Skills and work, Lifeskills training, Livelihoods, Vocational training