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Updated: July 2, 2013 12:29 IST

Dispelling darkness by motivating the dejected

P. Sudhakar
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Making a difference: An entrepreneur, trained at IOB’s Rural Self- Employment Training Institute, at her tailoring unit in Tirunelveli. Photo: A. Shaikmohideen
The Hindu Making a difference: An entrepreneur, trained at IOB’s Rural Self- Employment Training Institute, at her tailoring unit in Tirunelveli. Photo: A. Shaikmohideen

Rural Self-Employment Training Institute trains the needy in different fields

Utter darkness enveloped the life of 32-year-old Selvi (name changed on request) when she lost her husband, the sole breadwinner of the family, in a tragic accident. Another rude shock awaited the young widow when, within a week, her parents and her in-laws washed their hands of her and her two sons. They felt that looking after them would be a burden.

A couple of days passed by in gloom, and she remained confined to the four walls of a rented house. The pangs of hunger and the desperate need to fend for herself and her sons, now in Classes VIII and VI, forced her out of her shell.

Fortunately, she came to know of Indian Overseas Bank’s Rural Self-Employment Training Institute (RSETI) at Maharaja Nagar in Palayamkottai, just a couple of kilometres from her house, where poor people, who want to become entrepreneurs, are being trained in different fields.

Mustering courage, Ms.Selvi enrolled herself in the tailoring programme being offered by the RSETI. Though the training programme was informative, the new entrant still in the throes of mental agony was unable to focus on the training.

Sensing the woman’s predicament, RSETI Director S.Nambiraj, during one of the capacity-building sessions, encouraged her to speak about herself in the presence of other participants. The next few minutes lapsed in eerie silence with Ms.Selvi crying inconsolably before she was able to compose herself and narrate her story. Having broken the ice, the lady was motivated by the trainers during the theory and practical sessions of tailoring.

After completing the training programme, a totally transformed Ms.Selvi started her own tailoring unit at her house at Thiyagaraja Nagar in Palayamkottai with a loan of Rs.50,000 she obtained from the IOB. Her skills have also brought her close to the women in her area.

“Now, I’ve also started purchasing blouse, nighty and churidhar materials so that my customers can buy them from me and give them to me for stitching. Life has now become beautiful for me as the training that I underwent at the RSETI has made me an entrepreneur,” says Ms.Selvi.

She believes that the yoga and motivational sessions conducted at the training centre apart from regular theory and practical classes actually made the difference.

Another entrepreneur, Gowri of Thuraiyoor near Tirunelveli, has also scripted her success story after undergoing the comprehensive beautician training session at the RSETI.

“Though, I’m from a rural area, I have set up a parlour with more facilities in my native village with a loan of Rs.1.50 lakh from the IOB. I’m making an attractive revenue now. Brides from rural areas come to my parlour for a minimum of two sittings before the day of marriage. So with the training I underwent and the changing attitude of the girls, I have collectively ensured a minimum monthly revenue of Rs.20,000,” proudly says Ms.Gowri.

Like Ms.Selvi and Ms.Gowri, the RSETI has so far produced 2,080 entrepreneurs — 637 men and 1,443 women — in 64 batches, mostly from poor rural families.

“Besides imparting training in a range of trades, we also conduct yoga and motivational sessions, during which we nurture and fine-tune the participants’ self-confidence and self-esteem that motivate them to reach greater heights,” says Mr.Nambiraj. He has devised a methodical mechanism to follow up the trainees even after they establish their business activities, so that the RSETI can intervene voluntarily to lend a helping hand to them whenever they encounter unexpected problems.

Apart from imparting training in four-wheeler driving, basic computer operations, air-conditioner/refrigerator mechanism, mobile phone servicing, tailoring, toy making, etc., this training institute also trains people in making 106 ‘home products’ like jam, pickle, candle, soap and shampoo that attract more number of women trainees.

Mr.Nambiraj feels that the rural men and women, who have been blessed with immense potential, are lagging behind as their self-confidence is relatively low. “Once their self-confidence and self-esteem go up after motivational sessions, they respond and perform well,” he says. As the training sessions being conducted within the four walls since 2009 have become a success, Mr.Nambiraj has decided to come to the place of the trainees as well to train them as part of the RSETI’s off-site programme.

The RSETI has now designed a training programme exclusively for the gypsies (narikoravas) and decided to extend credit assistance to them to start their ventures following off-site training sessions to be conducted in the participants’ places.

Aspirants may contact Mr.Nambiraj at 94434 18444.

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People like Nambiraj are more in need for our countries than people like politicians with vested interests and so and so. I hope that the govt. will encourage him to do more service to the downtrodden so that we will stop mass migration of rural poor to the urban slum for want of 2 square meals which is still not guaranteed in many of the villages in our country.

from:  R.Manivarmane
Posted on: Jul 2, 2013 at 17:07 IST
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