Today is International Day of Friendship! In honor of this very special day we want to highlight a unique, loving friendship between Anchal co-founder and executive director Colleen Clines and Vatsalya co-founder Jaimala Gupta.
The two met through like-minded work in 2010 and formed a business partnership--Vatsalya compliments Anchal's income generating program by offering counseling & health services to the artisans. They are on the ground in Ajmer and are able to oversee day-to-day operations.
Today the partnership is unmatched in it's ability to create sustainable solutions for women and girls in India. But over the years Colleen and Jaimala have become more than just business partners. They have skyped at irregular hours, communicated through nearly non-existent internet service, shared the frustration of cut resources, adjusted to an increase in product demand and a growing number of artisans. They have dealt with flight delays, hostels and broken-down vans all the while mutually agreeing that persistence and determination were necessary to give Anchal artisans the opportunities that they deserve.
Colleen and Jaimala also looked to each other to celebrate the benefits of their hard work--new retail partnerships, clothing lines and fashion shows (Jaimala flew to Louisville to witness the launch of the Anchal x Urban collection!) They have celebrated grant awards, publications, Anchal Day, and most recently Fair Trade Federation membership. But more importantly they celebrate that they have employed over 107 women and created true, sustainable impact. They are both certain it wouldn't have been possible without the other. When talking to either Colleen or Jaimala it is evident that the relationship which stemmed from shared ideas, commitment and passion for social good grew into one of respect, admiration, and love.
They are an inspiring demonstration of real sisterhood. Everyone at Anchal treasures the relationships that we've developed with our sisters in India and throughout the world. We'd love to hear your story in honor of International Day of Friendship, too.