International Women’s Day this year was celebrated with much fanfare, especially after Covid-fears had ensured muted celebrations last year. Organisations and individuals both, celebrated women through talks, award ceremonies and other creative mediums. The members of Queen’s Brigade – an organisation consisting of women who interact with each other for business and social purposes – decided to do something unique to celebrate the ladies who reside in Swami Vivekananda Marg Basti in Chanakyapuri.
Founder of Queen’s Brigade, Heena Sodhi Khera, has worked closely with artist and social activist Rouble Nagi over the past few months, in a concerted effort to uplift the lives of the slum-dwellers of that basti. Under the program Misaal India, Rouble and Heena conduct educational and recreational classes for the children on a regular basis. Their mission has always been to teach or impart a skill, instead of handing out freebies, in order for the recipients of these life teachings, to stand on their own feet.
It can be said that every day is a day to celebrate women, to encourage and support them in the pursuit of their dreams. However, the 8th of March is a global institution that one must commemorate appropriately. Hence, this year, the members of Queen’s Brigade chose to celebrate it by adding value to the life of underprivileged women.
Life is full of struggles for all women, but for those that live in slums, life is challenging on a daily basis. With the pandemic, even their labour-dependent sources of income have decreased or disappeared completely. These women are creative, intelligent, willing to learn, and most of all, are looking for gainful means of employment. A few members from Queen’s Brigade visited the basti on Women’s Day to teach them a new skill – the art of block-printing on cloth and paper.
Block printing as an art can be used to decorate envelopes for gifting, and make beautiful patterns on fabrics that can be used for suits, dresses, bedsheets and cushion covers. It can be used as a decorative skill to enhance one’s own home or for the purposes of business to sell their creations. Ritu Gupta, Textile Designer, life coach and NLP practitioner was the teacher for the event. Heena and I were there to offer our support and help.
A group of 60 odd enthusiastic ladies, dressed in their Sunday best, lined up on the footpath outside the basti for the hour-long event on Monday, March 8. They were judiciously divided into groups of 6 each, with each group receiving the materials required to learn block printing first on paper, and then on cloth. Ritu taught the method and shared invaluable tips that only an expert would be aware of, with patience and skill. Heena supervised and happily guided the participants in their task, while I photographed and documented the event. It was a real pleasure watching the women excitedly collaborate with each other to create beautiful designs – the true display of their talent and abilities. The hour ended with group photographs, hugs and requests for us to return soon. It was Women’s Day well-spent!
If you would like to join Queen’s Brigade and be part of our social outreach programs or networking opportunities, please get in touch with us at email@example.com
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