Ever feel like you give to a cause and never see or understand how your purchase or donation might be making a difference? Here at Anchal we seek to be as transparent as possible about how your consumer dollars are helping our talented artisans. In this post we’d like to share a few success stories of our artisans so that you can always feel good about where your dollars are going:
Colleen first met Nita in 2009, and Nita was one of the first women to participate in Anchal. Nita was married at a young age and looking forward to a happy marriage, but everything fell apart when her husband became an alcoholic, which eventually led to abuse. Her marriage dreams shattered, she divorced him and entered the sex trade due to her limited education and lack of skill set. Her two sons knew that she had turned to the trade and implored her to stay out of it, though Nita herself wanted to get out of it, too. Now after three years with Anchal she makes a steady income. Additionally she has taken more of leadership position by amassing the completed quilts of other artisans and helping with sewing machine usage. As Nita embraced her new job and continued to save money, she eventually moved out of her tenement home and bought a house. Now she is in a new neighborhood where she no longer has to feel stigmatized for her previous life as a sex worker.
Nazia is young woman of 23 who has become very open to talking about the sex trade with Colleen. At an even younger age of 13 she was forced to marry a man much older than her. For unknown reasons he eventually he left her and their son. Nazia was left on street and had to take her of son and ill mother, and so she entered the trade in order to take care of her family. Nazia too was also part of Anchal’s first group of artisans, and she began to participate with Anchal in 2010. “After 3 years starting to see changes from first group,” says Colleen. “She [Nazia] is brilliant, one of the best designers. When I first met her I recognized from the start that she is talented and had eye for design.” Colleen says it is important to foster that. Now Nazia is going to be an assistant designer and will be creating all of the layouts of the quilts as well as implementing new designs. When Colleen asked her what she has been able to afford since beginning with Anchal, surprisingly she said fruit; growing up she loved fruit but it was expensive. It was a delight she always wanted to share that with her son, and as they would walk by market and he would point to the different fruits he wanted and she would pull him along, knowing they could not afford it. Now Nazia no longer has to avoid the fruit stand when she goes shopping with her son, and she can afford healthier options.
Before joining Anchal Shakuntela had an abusive husband who sent her to the hospital several times. Broken down by years of difficulty, Colleen said the first time she met Shakuntela she would not look her in the eye. However, Colleen says that due to the past three years with Anchal that she has seen her fear and uncertainty turn to confidence and poise as she begins to respect herself. Shakuntela now earns 100% of her household income and has been able to influence her childnre in a better way by sending them to school and feeding them well. This is in large part due to the fact that her talent has been nurtured at Anchal and as a result has taken more of a leadership position. Shakuntela even received extra training to learn cutting and lay out for the quilts.