TRYING TO GET SKILL-TRAINED, WOMEN AT RAYMOND’S FACTORIES IN BANGALORE, ARE DEFYING ALL STEREOTYPES
When Geetha, 33, a mother of two, started working as trainee operator at Silver Spark Apparel, a state-of-theart factory of Raymond, in village Majara Hosahalli, 37 km from Bangalore city, where fabrics get shaped into suits, jackets, and trousers for international export markets, she was scared to see automated machines around her, and had no clue about their functioning. Now, some eight years later, employed as an assistant supervisor and heading an all-women team of 12, she is guiding them to shed their inhibitions, acquire skills, and become financially independent.
Coming from an economically weaker family of five, always struggling with finances, and having studied only till class 10, this has been a matter of pride for Geetha. “Regular counselling by the human resource department and other initiatives taken by the organisation have instilled confidence in me to take on higher responsibility. My thinking has changed; I now believe that all problems can be solved through better thoughts and process,” she tells us sitting in the factory canteen. Trying to rewrite her destiny through sheer hard work and steely willpower, Geetha is just one example of several others working there trying to break walls and emerge as social leaders.
During our visit to second Silver Spark Apparel plant, in Gauribidanur, the historical town in Kolar district, on Andhra Pradesh-Karnataka border, we came across yet another inspiring story. 38-year-old Renukamma, who comes from a family of seven, dependent on daily wages, started working at the facility, also as trainee operator, in 2008, after having lived a life of drudgery and slavery.
Assigned to work in the finishing department, she managed to pick up work within six months of joining, with constant help from her head of department, also a woman. She has even undergone training to be a team leader; that’s the level of her enthusiasm and passion. “We used to live in a house with leaking roof and didn’t have the money to fix that. But, our financial situation changed after I started working at Silver Spark. I could afford to build a new house for us. I even got my daughter married and am now saving for my son’s education,” she says.
This is what empowerment is in its simplest, but effective form. From being taught how to control the pedal of the machine to learning how to draft, cut, sew, stitch and pack, these women get to know all that after two to three months of on-the-job training. As Venkatesh S, Head, HR & Administration, Silver Spark Apparel Ltd says, “We have referral programme of ‘each one bring one’ and offer incentives to women who recommend other women.”
It is heartening to see these women do dexterous jobs with such ease; working on relay table, checking upon the jacket shell panel and jacket lining numbering before giving the suit their seal of approval to be packed and shipped to its port of destination.
Workers at Silver Spark Apparel factory, Bangalore