Maya’s laugh is contagious. It is especially prevalent because she is almost always laughing. During the workshops I watched other artisans rush to get a seat next to her, eager to partner on projects or join her for chai. Within seconds I would hear an eruption of laughter from her corner. She brings an element of positivity and fun that is often needed.I was excited to interview Maya. And though her outgoing, bubbly personality sets her apart from the other artisans, her life story is consistent with theirs – a series of extremely difficult, sometimes dehumanizing obstacles that she faces on a daily basis.
I had to ask her: “How do you stay so positive?” Her answer was confident, direct and humbling. She told me, “happiness is a choice.” Every single day, Maya wakes up and makes the conscious decision to be happy. She supports her husband and three sons, and acknowledges, “if I am happy, then they are happy.” Like many Anchal artisans, and mothers around the world, for that matter, Maya is the glue of her family. She added, “if there are problems, big or small, I can stay positive, stay focused and find a solution.”
One example of Maya’s commitment to her family took place last year when her youngest son first started school. He was embarrassed because of all of his jeans were old and dirty. Maya washed them numerous times but they still didn’t look new. So she went to lengths that only another mother could understand by purchasing indigo-colored powder and soaking the jeans until they were a vibrant blue.Maya has invested in all three of her son’s education and hopes to buy a home in the next couple of years. Maya is proof that when women are empowered they elevate the status of their families and eventually their whole community. Not only is she a role model to her family and the other artisans, Maya is a role model to all of us on the Anchal team. I often think of how the world would be a better place if we were all just a little bit more like her.
Update: We are excited to announce that Anchal artisan of the month Maya has been generously sponsored for 2016 by Julie LaValle Jones. You can still help other Anchal mothers and artisans elevate their families & community by donating today >>>