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“I might be weak at heart but I’m not gonna let it tear me apart…” This is the strength of a mother!
In our global network of artisans, a large number are women from most deprived and disadvantaged communities who have very little opportunities for self-development and growth due to the lack of opportunities. In most cases, their work and their identity both remain uncounted, undercounted and unseen. However, with their natural strengths of endurance, determination, and patience, and support and empowerment given by institutions like Shopanthropic, they are working towards achieving whatever goals they set for their lives.
At Shopanthropic, we are giving these women a stage to share their stories, an ability to grow and the opportunity to better their lives and their communities. Each of these women have untold stories of sacrifice, strength and hard work. Meet some of our newest women artisans:
Women Artisans Who Are Making Pieces in Our Bombshell Collection
Srey Oun is an inspirational woman! At the age of 33, she has survived one of the most brutal periods in Cambodia’s history and encountered a personal disaster. She was the victim of an acid attack in 1999, a common form of violence in Cambodia. Her marriage ended because of her being blind and she is now as single mother. Srey not only struggles to provide her daughter with food and education opportunities, but also struggles with the stigma of being blind. Forever an optimist, she enjoys the work she does as it adds value to her life, giving her the dignity to stand on her own feet, and allowing her daughter to gain educational experiences for a brighter future.
After struggling and surviving through the vicious civil war in Cambodia, 47-year-old Sokhun Houn, a mother of seven children, is now living close to a dump site and earning her daily living by making handicrafts with locally-found recycled materials. In order to support their family, her husband also completes various jobs to earn money. This dual-income enables the couple to provide higher education to their children, an opportunity Sokhun herself never received, as she does not know how to read or write.
Have a look of their artisan work here: http://shopanthropic.com/bombshell-collection
Women Artisans Who Are Making Pieces in Our Moral Fibre Collection
Sudha has a congenital defect in her leg, which denied her the ability to be able to walk for her entire life. She has lived through a broken marriage, desertion and extreme poverty but she still has the courage to dream and to fight. Thrown out of her home nine years into her marriage, she wandered in search of work but was turned away because of her disability. At times, she used to beg for food. Now she uses her determination and perseverance to earn a dignified living for herself through her artisanal talents.
Meenakshi, a mother of three, comes from one of the lower castes and her family struggled to make ends meet. In a country with rampant casteism, it was impossible for her to get some work. Through artisanship, Meenakshi is able to support her children and help them attain a better future.
Rajbala, a stay at home woman realized that her husband’s earnings as a driver were not enough to sustain the family. Frustration crept in and turned him into an alcoholic. Rajbala struggled to make ends meet and was often beaten up by her husband; she didn’t lose her hope and turned her life around for good. She has learned to stand on her own feet and be a positive role model for her children.
For Poonam, life has also not always been fair. Although she was married into a wealthy family, she was widowed at a tender age and her relatives usurped her husband’s savings. Left with no money, she was forced to work to fend for herself and her two children. Through sewing and tailoring, today she is happily supporting her children.
Through production support and vocational training in sewing, tailoring, block-printing, and in making recycled and handmade paper these artisans have access to regular work/employment, fair wages, education for their children, and future stability for themselves, their families and communities.
Have a look of their artisan work here: http://shopanthropic.com/moral-fibre-collection
Women Artisans Who Are Making Pieces in Our Silk & Coco Collection
Liza Mollick is a highly talented artisan. However, for many years, even after working exceptionally long hours every day, she was not able to make ends meet. With a fair trade handicraft employment opportunity and through support in training, production and marketing, with a group of 15 other artisan women, she is now earning fair wages, working in safe environment and works a regular 8-hour work day. Besides this, she now has access to better health services, provide education to her children, and future stability for herself and her family.
Bithi Dhas has a similar story of struggle. Even after having remarkable artisanal skills, she struggled to have a sustainable life for many years. With the support of an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) in Bangladesh who is also dedicated to empowering low income artisans to break the cycle of poverty by creating fair trade employment opportunities and with the support of organizations like us, this low income artisan has now been able to gain financial independence.
A recent addition in our network of artisans in Bangladesh is 26 year old Jarna Das. Due to financial hardships, Jarna was not able to continue her schooling after grade 5. Since her childhood, her mother and sister were involved in sewing jute bags and Jarna learned these skills from them. Now she is also financially supporting her family of 8, with her mother and sister, and is trying to fulfill the small demands of her siblings with her own income.
Have a look of their artisan work here: http://shopanthropic.com/silk-coco-collection-2