At the age of 31, Barkhaji, for the first time, brought her daughter a gift.
What makes it special is also the fact that she managed it with money that she had earned herself. For someone like Barkhaji, who was smiling all the time, that moment was overwhelming. She actually cried. For the people who know her, it seems rather unsettling because she is one of those people who seem to have a lot of sunshine inside of them. She’s quite popular in her village and some know her as a great neighbor, some as a dedicated wife and some as a superb cook. We have always known her as one of our many talented artisans who help create beautiful wholesale decorative pillows. But now, we also know her as a proud mother. Moments like these are exactly why we support underprivileged women artisans through our wholesale fair trade products. It empowers them so that they too can collect such moments for themselves.
India is a male-dominated society, and the male members are the decision makers regarding most important matters. That is primarily also because in low-income communities, men are the primary bread earner of the family and hence they have a louder voice. Women, on the other hand, are illiterate and are not aware of their rights like land ownership, voting, etc. What adds to the mix is that they also stay at home which makes them unaware and disconnected from society. We help change all these dynamics.
Recently, there are a lot of discussions about women’s empowerment when talking about wholesale fair trade products. One of the most important impacts of fair trade on women artisans is that these women, who like Barkhaji, in many cases have learned these art forms from their mothers and grandmothers as a way to embellish their homes, are now suddenly able to make a living on their own by selling their wholesale home décor. These are the women we partner with. The ones we help make their income by making our wholesale blankets and throws and a myriad of other products. But, this is the first step.
Everything else is a chain reaction. Trading activities also force these women to travel and interact with larger society. This grows them as individuals too.
They become more confident and start making decisions. They start finding their voice and talk for themselves.
Every time these women experience these small joys, we experience it with them. It's a great motivation for us to know how through our small addition to their lives, they are able to do so much more. Through each stitch made in the wholesale throws and pillow covers, and with each transaction of drop ship throw pillows, we aim to make the biggest impact we can.
But, this is just the beginning. We know that there are so many Barkhajis we are yet to meet. So many of them still left to smile with.