On our most recent trip to India, we had the opportunity to visit with artisan Kalawati and learn more about the true impact of her artisan sponsorship.
When we first met Kalawati she was extremely timid and fearful, she would hesitate engaging in conversation with anyone around her. The previous year when we asked her if she felt confident, she solemnly responded, “I am getting there.” After spending the week with her this past September, I can report a complete transformation. There was no doubt that Kalawati would now describe herself as empowered. She joyfully interacted with the other artisans, cracked jokes with me and was consistently smiling while working.
Kalawati is a 27 year old mother of a 10 year old girl, a 5 year old boy and a brand new baby. She was still sitting on the ground, this Fall, happily stitching during the workshops while 7 months pregnant. Our hero! Kalawati’s biggest worry is her children’s future and making sure they have food and clothes. "I think, don't grow anymore. How will I feed you when you’re big?" She is currently saving 1000 rupees per month in her bank account for her children’s education.
Kalawati clearly values the job opportunity with Anchal. She told us, “Now that I am earning I can fulfill my own wishes. Before I had to ask my husband’s permission. My in-laws that I live with treat me better now that I am earning.” Kalawati proudly shared that she was able to purchase earrings and an anklet this year from her earnings. Purchases like jewelry are so meaningful to the artisans because they rarely treat themselves to such splurges. They only own 2-3 saris so Kalawati’s purchase is a great accomplishment.
We are truly amazed by Kalawati’s dedication and growth; she recognizes the importance of quality and hard work. "You can tell by the quality of the products who has worked the longest. We all want to make high quality products, it gives us something to work toward."
At the close of our conversation she wanted to make sure that I shared her appreciation. “We come from extreme poverty, but we work really hard. I want to thank those that are supporting us.”
Sponsorship of artisans like Kalawati, not only guarantees they can provide a better life for their families, but that they can also continue learning and growing in Anchal's holistic program.