Justin Beiber Fan and Karate Kid- Rupa!

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I recently gave my tenth grade exams and I have a long summer vacation ahead of me. I’ve been keeping myself busy with the summer workshops at MarketPlace. So far I’ve participated in an art competition, a craft making session and I also got to watch The Karate Kid! The Armaan Club arranged the film screening for those of us who have been learning karate for the last few months. I love that I have been able to learn a useful skill and it makes me proud to tell my friends that I have such an interesting hobby. All girls should learn karate for self defense! My friends and I no longer feel scared walking on the streets because our reflexes are pretty well trained now.

In a few months I will be in junior college studying science. I am passionate about computers and learning new software programs like Microsoft office. So my natural choice for further studies was computer science. I hope to become a software engineer soon and follow my dreams! My family has been very supportive about this and they always advise me to get more information about my career choices and speak to experts in the field.

One of the things I hope to accomplish before school opens is learning guitar. I love everything to do with dance and music. Justib Beiber is my idol and absolutely adore the way he sings!

 

 

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Artisans’ Kids Bust Stereotypes

We asked the artisans’ kids what they felt about some common social stereotypes. We then asked them to write down one social “rule” that they have proven wrong. Here are some of the answers we got.

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What did the kids feel about this exercise? The kids were intrigued and excited to put their thoughts down on paper. This is what they had to say:

“I worked very hard at overcoming my physical condition. And I’m happy that my efforts can inspire someone else. People usually pity kids like me but I had confidence in myself.”

“These are the things that parents, teachers, neighbors keep saying. And we put exactly those words on the cards. I think this is the best answer we can give them.”

“How can anyone else know what I am capable of? No one has the right to tell me what I can or cannot do. And no one can really tell what my capabilities are.”

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Celebrating Independence

August 15th is Independence Day in India, commemorating the day in 1947 when India became free from British rule. As the country celebrates with speeches and concerts and kite-flying, the artisans reflect on what independence and freedom mean on a more personal level.  In these photos, some of the women share their views of freedom.  Economic empowerment has led to many more changes in their lives as they have become more self-confident, decisive, informed, and – independent! They have become leaders and role models for their families and their communities.  Join us in honoring all those who have fought and continue to fight for their right to determine their own future.

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Authentic Kalamkari Worth the Work

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Sometimes it isn’t about efficiency. Sometimes it’s about taking the time and trouble to create something truly special. The ancient Kalamkari process is very complex and time-consuming, involving up to 17 steps of hand block printing and dyeing with colors and mordants derived from local plants and minerals. Once prized by sultans and Europeans alike, Kalamkari fabrics suffered from the introduction of machine-printed textiles in the 1700’s.  But the secrets of the technique and the dye recipes were retained by the families in South India for whom this was their traditional livelihood.  Today there is a new appreciation for things that are natural and hand-crafted. Our authentic Kalamkari fabrics have a mellow and enduring beauty that can come only from taking the time to do it the right way.

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Meet Artisan Priyanka Medhe!

Priyanka Medhe, 33. Sahara Cooperative

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I gave birth to a child almost 10 years after I got married. This is a big issue in our society and I was subjected to taunts and insults for years because I hadn’t produced a child. Neighbors and relatives would advise my husband to leave me and marry someone else. This was obviously very traumatizing but I was lucky to have a good husband who supported me and in laws who were considerate. I now have a 5 year old girl and I have great dreams for her.

I was only able to go to school till the 7th grade. When I was 10 I started working part time at a small toy factory. Our family was very large so we had to work to support the household. I would go to school for a few hours and then skip the rest of the classes to work. This went on for a couple of years and I finally dropped out of school. I remember someone had offered to put me through nursing school if I finished 10th grade. But I was a silly girl and at the time I didn’t see any value in studying further.

My husband does not have a permanent job- he does odd jobs in the transportation industry sometimes or works as a cook for big events and parties. So his income has never been very regular. I used to work in small tailoring shops in the nearby slums and would earn a little to supplement our income. But since I came to MarketPlace my income has become stable and I am now responsible for our household expenses.

In the last 4 years, since joining MarketPlace, my self confidence has increased remarkably. I used to be very shy and couldn’t even get myself to speak to people. In the beginning I would be very scared of performing in plays with the artisans. But I find myself less and less scared each month and now I volunteer to take part in plays and other activities. I hope someday in the future I can start a tailoring workshop, employ women like me and make a difference in their lives.

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Shraddha’s Plans for the Summer and Beyond

(Shraddha Gupta, 15, years old, daughter of artisan Malati Gupta, WARE. )
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I just gave my 10th grade exams and am on vacation for the next 4 months till we start junior college (11th grade). I am going to study Commerce for 2 years before I start college. I have a pretty clear plan for what I will do in the next few years. I want to study Business Management in college with a few internships thrown in.

I think the real world experience will serve me well when I look for a job. I want to intern with a big name like Procter & Gamble because there are so many people who are unemployed, and I want to give employers a reason to hire me. Eventually I want to start my own business in something that has a lot of scope in the market.

I think the only challenge for the next few months will be to overcome the boredom of the long summer days. It’s usually too hot to go outside and play so we spend our days indoors. At night we play football in the field next to the house with other kids from the Armaan Club and some of the neighbors’ kids.

Recently some boy passed an annoying comment when he saw me playing football. He told me that I was a grown up girl and shouldn’t be playing with kids all day. I asked him if there was a book in which there were rules for what girls can or cannot do. A lot of people have an opinion on things I do, but my parents are very open-minded and I just ignore the rest.

The Armaan Club also has some exciting things planned for us this summer. There are a lot of courses on offer for us to pick from- crafts, beautician etc. I have chosen a 4 month long beautician course and I’m looking forward to the experience.

I really really wanted to learn how to play guitar this summer, but learning any musical instrument is very expensive. A few kids I know want to learn the guitar as well, and we’re still looking for a cheaper option.

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A Sneak Peek at MarketPlace’s Spring Collection!

Check out our new line featuring vibrant colors, authentic block prints and, of course, versatile, flattering, and breezy fits perfect for warmer weather! Keep an eye out for our new line on March 8th at  www.marketplaceindia.com and express yourself this Spring with MarketPlace products!

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