NEWSBRIEF: Local Rotary effort sponsors Indian sewing school

The Arden Hills Shoreview Rotary Club is sponsoring a new sewing school in India operated by Pushpa, an Arden Hills based nonprofit organization, to train low-income women in Amaravathi, Andhra Pradesh, India. 

Amaravathi is a small village of about 15,000 people in the State of Andhra Pradesh, in southeastern India on the Bay of Bengal. This area is primarily agricultural and the majority of the people are poor. 

Pushpa is an Arden Hills-based non-profit organization that partners with an India-based nongovernmental organization also called Pushpa. Both were organized by Gummadi Franklin and his wife Shirley, long-time residents of Arden Hills. Franklin was born in India and then worked for 30 years for 3M Corporation before retiring years ago.

The Arden Hills Shoreview Rotary Club is lead sponsor in a $16,550 grant to establish the sewing school and support operations for the first two years while it becomes self-supporting. Funds are from the Arden Hills Shoreview Rotary Club, ten other Rotary Clubs in the St. Paul district and matching funds from Rotary District 5960. The project is being spearheaded in Amaravathi by Pushpaís Indian NGO with the assistance of a cooperating Rotary Service Trust Organization in India. 

The goal of the school is to teach sewing skills to young women that are generally unable to obtain such vocational education and provide them with an opportunity to improve their circumstances. The literacy rate in this area of India is less than about 65 percent and poor children, especially girls, have very few educational opportunities. This school is modeled after another sewing school that has successfully operated by the Pushpa NGO in another village in Andhra Pradesh. 

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