Thursday, October 1, 2009

School uniforms

Early this year, in March, I was telling to Murali anna and Prabhu anna (my cousins – Periappa’s 3rd and 4thsons) about the tough period that we were going through as an organization...a certain amount of loss in faith on us by the villagers, the perception that our works are not welfare oriented. We created a community health set-up which was not free but cost effective, supporting schools in delivery of education, strengthening panchayat set-up and creating employment opportunities…no where did we dole out!

For this, both my cousins suggested, while they also believed Payir should not look at short-term welfare projects, we needed to get the goodwill back. And from the Thenur villager’s perspective, Payir and Periappa’s family were seen as an intricately connected entity….rightly so, Periappa, our founding Chairman, had been their benevolent leader for decades! So, we decided that, we will provide 2 sets of stitched uniform for all primary school children in Thenur Panchayat funded independently by Periappa’s family.

In all, this came to 440 sets of uniform. With Murali anna’s (a fabric industry expert) guidance, we have been trying out a few income generation project with Thenur villagers sourced from Tirupur. We had been planning to start a fabric stitching unit in Thenur. We decided that this “school uniform” project be the testing ground. So, anna with his friends, Chandru & Sathish from Tirupur, arranged the cloth direct from Gujarat and other stitching materials from Tirupur.

With Shilpa anni (Murali anna’s wife)..a professional fabric production manger – we sized the uniform sets to Small, Medium and Large. All our support staffs, went about taking each child’s measurement..coalated sample sets done..did random checks!

We convinced 5 tailors (1 male and 4 women) from Thenur to be our first Production team. It was new for them to sit together in one place, doing a job together, trying to stitch to the same quality..keeping minimum standards, people to supervise them and a time-line..Ponnudurai and Senthil of our Payir team lead these deliberations.

To aid this whole process, Chandru anna sent from his Tirupur manufacturing unit, his Cutting and Pattern master. They brought their machines and tools…and our Thenur folks including us understood why Tirupur is the India’s capital of Knit –wear industry. They started their job at around noon..went about their work till 2 am in the morning - having cut the 400 odd sets!

In a nice coincidence, a few days from then, our friends from YHM ( donated 3 sewing machines to be used at Thenur!

About how the production a few daysJ