Vijaylaxmi Uppar is 27 years old. She married when she was 17. Six years ago her husband died as a result of heavy smoking, drinking, and stress. She belongs to the lower Uppara caste, and is thus forbidden to remarry.
Vijaylaxmi has one son, Ganesh. He is seven years old and has just begun primary school. He wants to become an officer in the army, something his father would have liked too. Vijaylaxmi has one brother, but he is married and lives abroad. Her father is deceased, so she lives together with her mother. Her mother currently does fieldwork for a living.
When Vijaylaxmi was 16 she completed a one year course at the Industrial Training Institute. However, she then got married and was forbidden to work by her husband.
Two years ago she started working for a tailor making traditional Indian dresses. Her maximum monthly salary is Rs 1,500 (€20 per month), depending on the level of tailoring demand. From this she supports both her son and her mother.
Vijaylaxmi received a microloan of Rs 10,000 (€140) from Mann Deshi, from which she was able to buy her own house. She managed to repay the loan in one year.
She joined the Satara Fashion Project because she needs the financial support and wants to learn to use industrial sewing machines, learn new cutting methods, and grasp Western fashion.
“When I joined the training course, I was first afraid. I had forgotten many things I had once learned, such as how to properly cut material. Now it is going really well, I can easily keep up and I feel very confident about what I am doing”.
Vijaylaxmi’s dream is to be independent and provide her son with a good education.