When i first put up this post, it was about our office manager Upasana and her assistant Renu having fun with our products, combining them with western dresses and clicking each other.
The outcome was fab and I wrote a post about how ethnic and traditional products can be given a modern twist and made relevant to the young generation.
But later on, when i shared Renu's pic on FB, i realised that there was so much more to share over here! And i came back to rewrite this post.
When you start on an endeavour like this, you come across and touch many different kinds of people. And touch their lives in diverse ways, significant or insignificant.
Take Renu, for instance. Her cousin Upasana was already working with us and when Renu came from the village, a shy, quiet girl.
Renu had left school at an early age and could barely read or write in English when she joined us. She would pack orders and click product pics under Upasana's supervision, always avoiding any kind of reading or writing work. And she couldn't even muster up the courage to talk to me directly!
When she sent her first salary home, her confidence was boosted a little. Then we started pushing her to handle stuff on her own, read orders, pack them herself, generate address labels. The knowledge that she could handle stuff like that independently made her feel even better about herself.
Then one day i found her modeling one of our wraparound silk skirts, with Upasana clicking her pics. The cousins were just having fun, but she looked so pretty that i encouraged her to do that more often.
Some weeks later, we were rewarded with this beautiful pic which not only showcased our products on a fab looking girl, but also annouced the arrival of a new Renu. A confident, talkative Renu, standing on her own two feet, doing a great job as an operations assistant and modeling part time too :)
We don't take all the credit here, but yes, it does feel good to have been part of this process of empowerment. We are proud of how far Renu has come and hope that in the course of our work, we will help bring about positive change for many other lives too.
Upasana's story to follow soon :)