Why are fashion designers underpaid in India

Place:Guorgaon District, Haryana
Project name:Kamalini - New training center
Local partner:Educational & Development Initiatives - EDI
Project type:Vocational training for young women
Project duration:January 2016 - December 2019
Project status:completed
Annual beneficiaries:200
Total project:CHF 604'400
Contribution Limmat:CHF 290,000
Contribution from local partners:CHF 160'400
Contribution other:CHF 154,000

In many regions of India, even in the 21st century, women are considered the property of their father, to whom they owe absolute obedience. Girls are seen as a burden, especially in poor families, as it is assumed that, unlike their brothers, they will not contribute to family income. It is not uncommon for women and girls to only get the food that men leave for them. Education and training is out of reach for many girls.
These facts contrast with the needs of the women concerned for their own earning potential in order to contribute to the maintenance of their families.
The Kamalini Vocational Training Center, an initiative of members of the Catholic prelature Opus Dei, aims to provide job-oriented training for women from poor backgrounds. For this purpose, they rented modest rooms in the south of the metropolis of New Delhi in 2007, in which women and girls can acquire a basic education and professional qualifications in textile processing, beauty care, computer applications and food production. These training focuses are supplemented by language courses in English, preparation for the job market and personal development.
The premises in Delhi soon became too small. In 2013 Kamalini planned to build its own center. The building was completed and installed at the end of 2016. The Limmat Foundation contributed to the cost of setting up the workshops and is also co-financing a three-year training program for 600 women.
The potential female students here are much more influenced by patriarchal ideas than in the urban environment. For example, women are only allowed to enroll in an apprenticeship if their father or husband agrees. Mistrust and fear of dangers outside the supervision of male relatives made many young women hesitate to start training.
At the beginning of 2018, the Limmat Foundation's project manager visited the new Kamalini campus to solve the new tasks with the school management. It was agreed that
  • work more closely with families and local authorities to break down prejudice,
  • a school bus guarantees safety on the way home and to school,
  • entry is made easier for female pupils with a low level of education,
  • Deficits should be compensated with suitable programs and
  • the cooperation with local companies is intended to concretise the job market opportunities for the graduates.
The merger of the graduates in cooperatives is also planned. Kamalini trains suitable women in entrepreneurial strategies.
The initial distrust of potential students and their families was overcome thanks to intensive advertising and trust-building campaigns. These include health advice in the villages, door-to-door propaganda, the offer to pick up the young women from home in a school bus, and the opportunity to earn some money by studying. Kamalini has found buyers for some of the products made by schoolgirls, such as clothes and bags. In this way, the students not only learn to process textiles, they are also involved in the sale of the products and learn about entrepreneurial action and planning. 160 young women completed a job-oriented training in fashion design / textile processing in 2019; Beauty care / coiffure; Computer application and English.

Meanwhile, Kamalini is considered a safe place for young women by the families of the schoolgirls. The courses were well attended in 2019.

additional Information

Place:Haryana / New Delhi
Project name:Kamalini training center
Local partner:Educational and Development Initiatives
Project type:Vocational training adults
Project duration:April 2010 - May 2014
Project status:completed
Annual beneficiaries:620
Total project:CHF 259,900
Contribution Limmat:CHF 57'400
Contribution from local partners:CHF 152,500
Contribution other:CHF 50,000

India has grown from a poor agricultural state to an up-and-coming economic power. At the same time, the country is still underdeveloped. A third of all Indians live in extreme poverty, i.e. 390 million people have less than 1.25 US dollars a day. The illiteracy rate is still very high at around 40 percent: especially many girls cannot and are not allowed to attend schools. Only a few receive vocational training. There are just 2.5 million apprenticeships available for the 12.8 million people who enter the labor market every year. Women from poor backgrounds who have to support their families therefore work as unskilled low-cost workers in industry and households and are very often underpaid and exploited.

In the Kamalini Vocational Training Center, underprivileged women have a chance to break out of the vicious circle. You can catch up on your elementary school in this center and prepare for state-recognized qualifications. In parallel, Kamalini offers vocational training in several areas: clothing design, computer use, cooking and housekeeping, arts and crafts and teaching in English.

In the early days of Kamalini, a teacher still had to go door to door to get girls interested in training. The success of the graduates won over more women, and word of mouth made the center grow rapidly. Now even employers send their unskilled workers to Kamalini to improve their skills. Kamalini graduates earn an average of 30 percent more than their untrained female counterparts.

The center currently has two rented training facilities, both on the outskirts of New Delhi. The institution is now building a third location in the suburb of Haryana. The new building offers space for 620 female students a year, mostly women from families who have moved here from the country and have hardly attended any schools. The new center has been built and furnished since 2009 with a contribution from the Limmat Foundation.