After two months controversy regarding who owns the shelter, I started interacting again with the ladies with a new vigour . We ( I and Utsa, programme coordinator, Art Reach) had a brief talk with the ladies who were interested to participate in the weekly sessions. We put them into a list so that we could give a reminder, every time we are there.
As we started talking and they expressed their thoughts about how they need stuff for daily use, for their new born and toddlers. They hardly could get any cloth to make the diapers and wrappers ( blanket as they say).
So we all decided to start to work on stitching which most of the women showed interest. Moreover that time in the month of August lot of young mother(18-25) were pregnant. They told that the winter is also not very far, so they are very keen to stitch diapers and blankets for their babies. One of the SPYM staff took interest as well to help us in the session with her skill of stitching, however later, she could not make it for her busy schedule.
At first we got new colourful cotton fabric for the the sesssion and asked the ladies to choose the colour. But later they asked me to get old sarees which would be much appropriate to make the diapers and the cloth to wrap the babies. So we collected old sarees from our neighbourhood and brought them for the sessions.
While working on the cloth, they talked what they require in their daily life and they also expressed their anguish for the difficulty in accessing the primary requirements for daily use for the infants. They usually use old duppattas, but that also sometimes are not enough.
The whole process of stitching diapers, was aim to build up a closeness and a collective feeling within the group. Therefore at the beginning of the session, we interacted that how they could help each other in making diapers and wrapers. There was also a conversation that as an alternative, they should make atleast two diapers for their fellow ladies and keep one for them. Even the women who had no children they helped others to make the stuff. Couple of ladies who knew the skill of making dipers with a small button like hole at the middle, to fasten the diaper, they helped other ladies to do that. So during the sessions there was a feeling for mutual sharing and interdependence for each other.
They enjoyed making the colourful diapers.
They also shared with us that how as they were small girls, back home, took training from their mothers and helped them. One of them expressed that she learnt the skill while she was living in Mulchand basti near South Delhi. An NGO (Non Profit Organisation) gave them training on stitching and embroidery. Instead she wrapped the babies into an old saree or dupatta.
The session on the stitching went for couple of months.