How to open a Usha Silai school

Would you like to know how to start a small business venture for rural women in India? This article provides complete information on one such venture, that is, the Silai School program initiative of Usha International Limited. You will get the details on how to select a village to start the school, identify the women who will teach and train other women, the costs involved and the application process.

Usha International Limited launched an innovative Silai School program a couple of years ago to enable women in rural regions of India to become financially independent through their own entrepreneurship venture. The program has been set up in collaboration with NGOs and has gained a lot of momentum since its launch, so much so that as of now more than ten thousand such schools have been established across the country. You may also have recently seen the short documentaries titled 'Kushalta Ke Kadam' on NDTV channels which is promoting this unique program.

How it works

The program works on a very simple basis – teach a woman how to stich and sew using a sewing machine and also how to fix small repairs of the machine. Then she is given a syllabus with the text in her local language, a sewing machine and a certificate, along with marketing tools to start the business from her own home. Besides accepting tailoring orders, she will also teach other women. In time, this small entrepreneurship venture can help her to earn about Rs.2,500 to Rs.3,000 a month. Those trained under her can, in turn, set up their own Silai schools. For everyone, it is a win-win situation!

If you are a non-governmental organization (NGO) and would like to help women of rural India set up a Silai school, you can apply to Usha International Limited to become a partner in this program.

Eligibility requirements

An NGO will be selected to be part of the Usha Silai program on fulfilling the following criteria:
  1. The NGO must be a registered one under the Societies Registration Act / Under Section 25 of the Companies Act.

  2. The NGO should have been in operation for a minimum of 5 years.

  3. The NGO must have valid audited book of accounts with all the requisite audit systems.

  4. The NGO should be having ongoing programs in the district where the school will be set up or in a neighbouring district.

  5. The NGO should be having good associations with the community.

  6. The NGO should not have any political links or overtones and must be generally secular in nature.

What is required of the NGO

The NGO will function in the role of a facilitator for setting up the Silai school in the village identified for the program and identify women who can take up the role of a Silai School teacher. They must work towards setting up the requisite training programs at the Block level and motivate the girls & women of the village to attend the Silai school to learn how to sew and stitch.

The NGO will also be expected to regularly monitor the program which they have set up to know its progress and inform Usha International about the progress via regular reports.

How to set up the Usha Silai school

The first task for the NGO is to identify the village where the program can be set up. As per the criteria, the village must have a minimum population of 500 people. The village should be one that has been identified by the Government of India as being poor/BPL (below poverty line), either through Census or through the NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) or through NCAER (National Council of Applied Economic Research) data. The main goal would be to identify a village which has either no electricity or is having limited power supply of less than 6 hours a day.

In order to ensure that the program is cost-effective, the NGO should identify a minimum of 10 villages in a Block. It is essential, too, to incorporate villages that have progressive community members who would wholeheartedly support the program.

As for space, it would be necessary to have ready availability of space to set up a Silai school with contributions from the local community on a pro bono basis. It is also essential to have sufficient number of potential learners as well as a woman who has some sewing skills and would be willing to teach other women.

Selection of the entrepreneur

The lady selected to operate the Silai school should be a local resident of the village and one who is respected by the community. Preferably, the woman should be married and have some literacy level as well as know basic numerals that are essential to know for sewing (such as measurements). Somebody who knows the basics of using a sewing machine and with a little sewing skill would be ideal. Also, she should have the confidence to teach other women.

The training and starting sessions

The selected village lady will be trained for one week. She will then be given a start-up kit. This includes:
  • One non-electric Usha sewing machine that is operated by hands and feet.

  • A sewing and stitching syllabus which is in her vernacular medium.

  • Basic training materials.

  • A service manual to maintain & fix the machine in case of problems.

  • A certificate on completing the training course.

  • Prominent signage to indicate the presence of an Usha Silai School.

Silai school curriculum

The informal Silai school will train those who come to learn the basics of sewing. They will learn how to stitch and do embroidery on the sewing machines and also learn simple servicing techniques to maintain & repair a sewing machine. The 6-months course will include learning sewing and stitching of:
  1. Clothes for kids, such as baby bibs, jump suites, dresses for girls, etc.

  2. Clothes for women, such as local traditional garments, saree blouses and petticoats, suits, etc.

  3. Clothes for men, namely shirts and pants.

On the successful completion of the course, at the end of 6 months, each learner will receive a certificate from Usha International Ltd.

How to apply to become a partner of Usha Silai school

Not just an NGO, but also an international non-governmental organization (INGO) or a private institution or even a government body can contact Usha International Ltd. to become a partner in the Silai school program.

Simply write to them directly via email at: or

You can check the break-up of finances required to set up a Silai school at the official Website:

How to donate towards setting up a Silai school

Those interested can also contribute money toward adopting a Silai school. The approximate total cost is Rs.17,000/- for setting up a school. Donations can be made online through 2 NGOs:
  1. Nav Bharat Jagriti Kendra

  2. Blind People's Association – India
    Ph: (+91 -79) - 26303346,26305082.

Article by Vandana
Vandana is based in India with over 15 years experience as a freelance writer. Writing, no doubt, is her primary passion! Having learned the art of blogging from ISC, Vandana is enjoying the thrills of blogging, taking pleasure in sharing information & getting good pageviews at her various blogs.

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Author: Sharmistha Panda16 Dec 2015 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

Usha Silai School has been a success in the rural areas. Now a days many NGOs are trying to partner with USHA for the project.
But I believe, apart from just teaching them the syllabus about the working of the machine, stitching and a little bit of machine repairing, efforts should be made in creating a market for the stitched items. this would motivate more women to adopt the skill. Moreover boosting the entrepreneurial skills of the women folks in rural areas.

Guest Author: Abdul Qaiyoum Khan07 Mar 2016

My name is Abdul Qaiyoum Khan and live in U.A.E. I am planning to move and settle in India in March 2017. I want to open Silai School in Allahabad, U.P., India, and would like to be your associate in opening Silai School and the school will be supervised by me and run by a Lady to be selected before opening the school.
Please reply to me with all your requirement including charges.

Author: Venkiteswaran26 Apr 2017 Member Level: Gold   Points : 5

Tailoring was one of a much suited vocation to housewives. Many old films used to depict elderly ladies working tirelessly on sewing machines to earn their daily bread and bring up their family. Of late, it is very rare to see such women. Tailoring has become more an open profession. Even the women's dresses are made by men. Women are more employed in the ready made garments factories making garments for both men and women and kids.

Tailoring now gets good earning. If a woman spends a few hours every day at her sewing machine in her own home, she can earn handsome amount. This occupation is much suited to the house wives as they need not move away from their homes and can care their work and family simultaneously with same devotion and attention.

In such a situation the opportunities as described in this article are quite helpful to women. 'Usha' is a popular brand in sewing machines and their support venture as Usha Silai School is a useful one for women.

Guest Author: Alok kumar dwivedi12 Jun 2017

I want to open a Usha Silai Kendra in Orai, Jalaun district, U.P.

Author: K Mohan06 Jul 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 1

Usha is the well-known brand in sewing machines and they have come up with varied varieties like embroidery, pico, and even designer machines ranging in costs. Some machines are hand driven and some are power driven. What I like is the total care of service team from Usha company which educates every customer who ordered their new sewing machine ranges. The training is provided for the needy and once trained, they can likely open their own tailoring class with ease.

Guest Author: Siddhant sareen16 Sep 2017

I want to open a Usha Silai Kendra in kalyanpur block, kanpur nagar district, U.P.

Guest Author: Madhu25 Sep 2017

Is someone willing to open a Silai school for migrant women from rural areas who now live and work in Delhi? Please let me know. Teaching them will be a force multiplier for women in their villages back home if they can take this skill back to their villages.

Guest Author: Shweta04 Oct 2017

I want to open a center in Jhunjhunu rajasthan

Guest Author: 14 Feb 2018

I want to open a center near Nagpur, Maharashtra. However, my NGO is opened in 2017. I have experienced ladies who can teach and work. Is It possible to get a center?

Author: Vandana14 Feb 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 3

Amaara Foundation,

Thank you for visiting our site and reading this article.

Even though the eligibility criteria does say that the NGO should have been operational for at least 5 years, I think you could contact Usha International Limited and request them to consider your eligibility with details of your NGO's work. Please communicate with them via the email which I have provided or via their website directly.

For others also who have put in their comments and expressed their wish to open an Usha Silai school, please contact the organization directly.

Guest Author: Madhu18 Apr 2018

I want to open a centre in Amravati. I'm a housewife and I know stitching very well.

Guest Author: Atul20 Jun 2018

I want to open a centre in Ghaziabad district although I'm not associated with any NGO, can I be suitably guided

Guest Author: Idris07 Apr 2019

It is a brilliant effort. We congratulate Usha for this noble deed and salute them for this initiative. God bless team Usha and we wish them lots and lots of success.

Guest Author: Rachana18 Apr 2019

Not only in rural areas, but even a class of women in urban areas also need help, either for earning something for their children and for their future or for their families. There are those who are not in very good condition - examples can be seen in our own houses, where there are housemaids, daily wage workers and many more. I think it is not necessary to search for a village, for even cities do need this type of schools. Through such schools, we can train women and instead of leaving them unemployed or fighting for work with established tailors, employ them in some project like uniform making, readymade units, boutique work and take care of their wages etc. Usha Silai school can be a good seed for growing a big tree of a big organization for helpless women in cities also. In cities also people like me who have a good knowledge of handwork can grow this tree. You can train step by step village women and send them for Lakme fashion week, but urban BPL women will never get this chance. Nobody will take so many pains to start with zero to reach this stage. People want ready to cook recipes in cities and eat fast! I think responsible people in the company will think this way also.

Guest Author: savitri nair05 May 2019

This is an excellent program for rural women, but such training is also required for urban and semi-urban women. We are having two such setups in Dibai Dist. Bulandshahr U.P. and in Jaipur, Rajasthan where we impart vocational and educational training to B.P.L. women and girls. Please help us to promote this sewing-tailoring program in Dibai and Jaipur. There is a scope to expand in rural Rajasthan from Jaipur. We are interested to start the USHA SILAI school (Savitri Nair and Kalpna Jain; Email

Guest Author: Monika Baldva24 May 2019

It is a very commendable step to make women independent while taking care of their duties. Though I am not associated with an NGO, I have a very strong will to start something of the kind in Surat. I also know stitching to some extent. Could you please guide me if I can in any way be a partner in this awesome endeavour?

Guest Author: Neeru10 Jun 2019

I wanna start my own Usha Silai center so please guide me through the process.

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