Sew much better! Indian villagers boosted by solar-powered machines

Dozens of people in a south-west Indian village have seen their lives transformed thanks to solar-powered sewing machines.

Guided by Lok Manch, a people’s forum, women from 15 families in Ramanahalli, Karnataka, were able to buy the new machines, which has markedly improved productivity.

No longer dependent on unreliable electricity, the women can stich more clothes, which has boosted their income to the point where they can afford to send their children to school.

The machines are also better for the environment, more cost-effective and safer than the previous models. What’s more, the solar-powered bulbs enable the families’ children to do their homework in the evenings.

Through its Community Convergence Facilitation Forum, Lok Manch, a Jesuit Missions’ partner, encouraged the women to apply for funding and interest-free loans to purchase the machines.

After they were installed in September 2022, the women saw an improvement in their output and a reduction in costs within a month, with the CCFF reporting that they are now “living well thanks to a decent income”.

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