T. S. Atul Swaminathan
Nestled amidst a tranquil atmosphere, The Vocational Training Centre, The Theosophical Society, Besant Avenue Road, is a learning centre for wisdom and compassion.
Started in 2000, the centre provides free training to young girls and women in vocational skills. The centre consists of a tailoring and a weaving unit, where courses in hand-embroidery, machine-embroidery, tailoring, designing, and weaving are taught.
“It has been a long-term goal of The Theosophical Society and its president Radha Burnier to uplift the people from the marginalised sections of the society by educating them, to come up in life,” says S. Lakshmi Narasimhan, Superintendent, The Vocational Training Centre, The Theosophical Society.
Apart from the main courses, various short-term courses such as house keeping, home management, first-aid in collaboration with St. John’s Ambulance Association, are taught at the Centre.
The institution plans to introduce a 3-month course in painting, building construction, plumbing and electrical work, from this month.
“We plan to offer more courses in the future. The courses are of high standards. Workshops, and educational tours in collaboration with National Institute of Fashion and Technology, Taramani, DakshinaChithra, Muttukadu, and Kalakshetra Foundation on tailoring, weaving, printing and block printing are conducted for the students,” said Lakshmi Narasimhan.
As part of the syllabus, the students visit the ‘Dastkari Haat’, a festival of arts, crafts and textiles conducted by Dastkari Haat Samiti in association with Kalakshetra Foundation, ‘Akshara’, an exhibition on regional Calligraphy, crafts, textiles and arts, Victoria Technical Institute, Central Cottage Industries Emporium, Khadi Gramdyog Bhavan. The visits help them to get an exposure about the cloth, its quality, cost, and textiles, arts, crafts, and other tailoring accessories, she added.
Around 20 to 25 women study every year and complete a one-year certificate course in Tailoring and Weaving. The teachers who handle these classes are alumni of the centre.
The centre provides free snacks to students, as most of them come from far-off places like Old Washermanpet, Okkiam Thoraipakkam and Kannagi Nagar.
On Independence Day and Republic Day, students involve themselves in cultural activities and unleash their talents. S. Ramkumar, Director, Vocational Training Centre, The Theosophical Society, said: “Every year during May, a one-month course on Engineering and Maintenance will be conducted. It attracts students from Industrial Training Institutes. "
"The aim of the Centre is to make the students resourceful and employable. The courses are offered free of cost. We train the students to become entrepreneurs and employers, " Ramkumar noted.
The institution plans to introduce a 3-month course in painting, building construction, plumbing and electrical work, from this month