A multidisciplinary training centre intends to develop rural industry through traditional craftsmanship

It is fashionable to blame it on the government when things do not go right in society and disregard any government initiative as ineffective. The multidisciplinary training centre (MTDC) set up by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission at Dooravaninagar, existing well below the radar, disproves this notion.

Its work seems to do justice to the picture of Gandhi weaving khadi on his charka that is hung at its entrance.

The centre, for the past six decades, has been providing short-term training at a minimal cost, on a wide range of arts and crafts.

Its courses, running between two to six months, include tailoring and embroidery, beautician training, mobile hardware making and repair, bakery, candle making, agarbatti making, detergent powder making, pottery, paper conversion and leather works.

The fee for these courses range between Rs. 300 and Rs. 1,400, but the courses are free for women, minorities, scheduled castes and tribes and backward communities.

New opportunities

“I can't stand on my feet because of my illness, but through my work I can definitely stand tall,” Mujahid Pasha, a physically challenged student of mobile hardware, said. “This is not just an opportunity for me, but the foundation for my future.”

Renuka P. was in the homemaker's crisis of her work not getting the needed recognition when she stumbled upon the beautician course here. She thinks she would get more satisfaction out of setting that up as her business now.

The commission claims to have helped over 12,000 people get employed.

The centre is located over an area of 18 acres, in what used to be a prison under the British rule. Abandoned and half demolished prison cells still exist along side the classrooms.

Each course runs in a different block, giving the university experience.

Social transformation

“This is intended to develop rural industry through traditional craftsmanship,” said M. Chinnathambi, a lecturer at the MTDC.

“We attempt to make a social transformation by bringing together members of all castes and tribes, and making no distinction in what craft is taught to whom,” Mr. Chinnathambi explained.

The centre also helps you set up your own business once you finish your course.

Earn while you learn

Some of the programmes are also ‘stipendry', meaning the students get paid a stipend — Rs. 500 for non-residential students and Rs. 1,500 for residential ones — to sustain themselves during their training.

Residential students are provided lodging free of cost, either way.

“This way, we can keep people interested in learning a skilled job rather than have to take up unskilled jobs for the sake of wages and short-term survival,” explains Kempa Raju, another lecturer.

According to Zubeda Begum, a teacher and part-time student of hardware, women students feel quite safe on campus.

“We older people socialise with the youngsters and this merging of different ages helps us both,” she said.

Khadi and Village Industries' commission's multi-disciplinary training centre is located at Doorvaninagar, Bangalore 560016. Ph: 080-5650285

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