Archana, one of our most active grassroots leaders, really got our attention when she declared, “I am in competition with Bhaisahab (NK Chaudhary, Founder of Jaipur Rugs). He started just like me in a small village and has done so much today.”
Married at 16, Archana learnt to weave to support her family because her father-in-law’s income as a cobbler wasn’t enough. She has since made sure that not only her children, but also her husband receives the best education through her earnings. While she weaved and ran the house, her husband Lokendra completed high school and enrolled at the Industrial Training Institute from where he graduated four years back.
Lokendra is now part of the Jaipur Rugs team working at the Thanagazi Branch office. After years of weaving, the field team recognised Archana’s entrepreneurial spirit and trained her as a Bunkar Sakhi (Weavers’ Companion).
She now manages 31 looms in her village and is an active campaigner for grassroots mobilisation. When asked about everything she does, Archana says, “I am lucky as I am loved! I am loved by my husband and receive his and my in-laws’ respect which is not common in a village like mine.”
Hard work and dedication are the keys to a successful life. In the small village of Narhet in Alwar District, Rajasthan, lives a happy couple. Chottelal and his better half, Kanni Devi, have been weaving carpets for the past 15 years.But things were not always so good for this couple. Previously, Chottelal worked hard to support his family. He went to the city in search of work, which included employment as a laborer and tailor. During these days of struggle, Chottelal and his wife decided to learn the skill of weaving. A few years later, the couple saw a significant change in their standard of living.
Today, Chottelal is happy because he is earning happiness for his family. Because the Jaipur Rugs’ network ensures a direct link with the artisan, the middleman is eliminated and weavers such as Chottelal and Kanni Devi are able to earn decent wages. As a result, Chottelal‘s children are studying in a private school, ensuring a bright future for themselves. This hard-working couple presented Jaipur Rugs’ founder with a national award during a special program in Delhi. NKC received The Times of India Social Impact Awards-2012 under the Livelihoods-Corporate category and dedicated it to his extended artisan family.
When Chinta Devi mastered the art of weaving in 6 short months, nobody was surprised. From a villlage called Lalghad, she quietly emerged as a gifted weaver through her discipline, hard work and enthusiasm.
Before being training as a carpet weaver, Chinta Devi rolled bidis (hand rolled cigarettes), where she barely made a living despite working long hours in an unhealthy environment. Unsatisfied by that life, she was amongst the first to enroll when Jaipur Rugs opened a training centre in her village.
When asked the mantra of her success, she said “This has all been possible only because of the support from my family.” Her family, especially, her sister-in-law takes care of the domestic chores while Chinta Devi weaves. She hopes one day soon to give her four year old daughter-Saloni, the education she was denied as a child.
40 year old Ramebhai from the village of Molaamba says Jaipur Rugs is like family to him. “The company has been a mentor, giving me the strength to cope with life’s struggles and helping me overcome them to support my family”, said Ramebhai, when asked what Jaipur Rugs means to him.
Before undergoing trainings conducted by the company, Ramebhai worked with contractors where he felt neglected and wasn’t paid on time. His hard work and dedication seemed futile as he struggled to feed his family of four. “Then one day Kantubhai, the village headman, told us about Jaipur Rugs.” After 8 years as a trainer and then a loom owner, Ramebhai says that he never imagined his life could change so drastically.
“There was a time when I worked as a daily-wage labourer on other people’s farms. Gradually with the money I made from weaving carpets for Jaipur Rugs, I cleared a small plot of land I had and turned it into rice fields.” Ramebhai also built a new house for his family to live in, saved enough to get his eldest daughter married and sent his two younger children to a residential school in the neighboring village for a better education.
He says “Along with material gains, the satisfaction and sense of security that my wife and I continue to get from working with Jaipur Rugs makes this journey feel like a dream come true!”