WPMarket is excited to feature one of our partners, Kiran Social Enterprises.
The following blog was written by Jane Wilson, founder of Kiran
All of March, our featured item will be the Kiran Veer Necklace, in junction with International Women's Day. More here!
India is a country of vibrant colour and culture alongside heartbreaking stories of unmet need. If you have heard of Kolkata, you may associate the city as the long time home and final resting place of Mother Teresa, a place steeped in literature, song, dance and well founded pride the rich Bengali culture, but where poverty reigns. A lesser known fact is that beyond these stories of adversity are many strong women fighting to overcome circumstances in their lives that most of us would find it hard to imagine. At Kiran Social Enterprises, we are glad to be working with five of them.
Kiran (meaning 'ray of light or hope' in Sanskrit) was established in 2012 as a direct response to these particular women living in a busti (slum) community together and facing issues such as unfair working conditions or unemployment as well as the huge array of consequences of gender inequality. And what better way to address these issues than going right back to what is already in abundance in India – spirited colour, feminine resilience and beautiful artisanship.
At Kiran, we embrace these assets and combine them with training in multimedia jewelry design and craft. The result is a beautiful piece of Kolkata, ready for you to wear or gift on, embedded with the stories and strength of the five women who made it possible. In turn, our artisans are paid a living wage and provided with medical insurance and financial assistance as necessary. But perhaps even more crucial is the chance to spend time in community with each other, where laughter is plentiful and dignity is for everyone.
You can see how this is a partnership – our artisans and Kiran leadership work closely together, but we can't continue this transformative work without those who are willing to value the stories and artisanship enough to take a piece of it with them. We'd love for you to take a piece of Kiran with you, and to further close the gaps between us all. Many pieces of the Kiran jewelry range are based on the iconic Indian sari, so you are wearing a symbol of strength, resilience and traditional feminine India. And we think you're going to love it!
Learn more about Kiran and our March campaign here!
As a newcomer to WPMarket, I have seen all the work that gets put in to make it successful. When asked to write a blogpost, my hope was to share with others the impact of all the hard work that all of our partners have put in to help alleviate poverty around the world and to show how your purchase makes a difference.
Kristin Braddock, of Sewing New Futures, shares the impact WPMarket’s reinvestment has made on poverty alleviation in India:
"Sewing New Futures (SNF) currently trains and employs 20 women. 'Employed' meaning the women are receiving a small, monthly stipend and get paid a fair wage per item they sew. This allows them enough financial freedom to choose to deter prostitution, invest the money in their families and themselves.
The picture (right) featured is of one of the mom's in the center, at Sewing New Futures, Piya. She is incredibly important to the organization, one of our fastest learners, incredibly hard working, and a leader to the other girls. I envision her managing training classes or when we expand and open new centres her running the centre. Just an incredible woman.
Piya got married when she was 14, she is 23 now. She has an 8 year old son that comes to our center for our education programs while she works. She first came to our center so she could provide a better future for her son. She is very bold and has stood up to community pressure (prostitution), which resulted in a separation from her husband and is currently living with her mother. Her goal is to learn how to make and sew clothes. She loves any chance to learn new designs and is working hard to provide for her son.
The money that is given from WPMarket's reinvestment goes back into materials so that the training we are providing women like Piya can be of more value and we can continue to offer them new products to learn how to create. We want to create SNF into a sustainable, profitable business for them and also keep the work interesting and fun for them!"
Kiran Social Enterprise's Founder Jane Wilson commented on Kiran's recent growth:
"We've taken on three new women for training in the past week. They have already made great progress in learning the techniques, and have fit in well with the current women. The office and workshop have shifted to a new place on the edge of the slum community the women are from...Thanks so much for your partnership with us - it's certainly part of the support that has made taking these next steps possible."
The stories above are a testimony to how much the reinvestment makes a difference to the women living in India. We are excited to grow as an organization and to partner with more nonprofits to help alleviate poverty in India and around the world.
Lauren is WPMarket's rockstar intern.