Sustaining SHARE: Thank-you with a Recipe

September 29th
9:00 TO 5:00 DESIGN WORKSHOP
9:30 TO 11:00 MEETING TO DISCUSS PAPER PATTERNS (ARUSHI)
11:00 TO 1:00 MEETING TO DISCUSS SHARE ACCOUNTS AND PROPERTY ISSUES
1:00 TO 2:00 LUNCH WITH DEL
2:30 TO 3:30 MEETING WITH NIRMAN &ARPAN LEADERS
4:00 TO 5:00 MEETING WITH SOCIAL ACTION LEADERS

This was a really wonderful day and I have tons to report. We are about half way through the design process and I would like your opinion on some of the designs – both of the cut of the clothing as well as the embroidery. I am posting some items from each of the color ways. Please check back for those photos, and let us know what you think of these options. Remember though, these are in the process and the embroidery is not complete.
Embroidering
Recently, Arushi, a graduate from The Art Institute of Chicago, spent over a month at MarketPlace – Mumbai working with the artisans on improving their paper pattern and grading skills. She did this on a volunteer basis, stopping in Mumbai on her way to Lucknow for her wedding. Lalita, Shaily, Design Manager, Abdul and Aburkani discussed the training as well as the changes she suggested.

I would like to talk a little bit about SHARE here. Both MarketPlace and SHARE have always been very concerned about limiting management and overhead expenses. and so budgets are very meager. SHARE believes in taking advantage of resources in the community, like trainers, educators, etc and has kept its staff small. The entire SHARE staff consists of Nooreen, Assistant Director; Prajakta, Program Manager; Delphine; Office Manager; and Gaurav, Book Keeper and general assistant. They work closely with the MP-Mumbai staff and Nooreen supervises MP-Mumbai. The SHARE office doors are always open and women can come and talk to the staff whenever they want. SHARE deals with individual problems, like dealing with the challenges of bringing up teenagers, non-cooperative husbands, etc as well as group issues such as attendance, participation, quality of work, etc. They support the managers in working with their groups and design social programs that deal with problems that the women have identified. For more in-depth descriptions, click here.

And they manage to do all this on the following very small budget:

SHARE – Budget 2009

      Amount in Rs Amount in US$ % of Total Budget
SOCIAL PROGRAMS        
ARMAAN Club for Children includes day and overnight camps, Life Skills Education program, and activities during the vacations. Rs. 156,100 $3,469 14.5%
SOCIAL Action includes choosing a problem in the community and working to solve this problem.  Expenses include organizing events, travel, etc. Rs. 65,010 $1,445 6.0%
GLOBAL DIALOG includes choosing a theme to discuss, explore and is an important leadership building program.  Budget includes travel and meeting expenses Rs. 13,000 $289 1.2%
COUNSELLING, This includes payment to a Counselor for individual counseling.  Many women need this for a variety of reasons – dealing with their teenage children, abusive husband, aging parents, etc Rs. 127,680 $2,837 11.9%
RAAH building business skills for leaders in the group Rs. 94,50 $2,100 8.8%
STORIES OF CHANGE AND NEWSLETTER Each group is putting together a newsletter and documenting their process of change Rs. 7,200 $160 0.7%
IMPACT STUDY (we received a grant for this) Rs. 162,064 $3,601 15.1%
TOTAL STAFF SALARIES AND TRAINING

Rs. 606,473

$13,477

56.4%

TOTAL OFFICE EXPENSES

Rs. 133,400

$2,964

12.4%

GRAND TOTAL

Rs. 1,075,683

$23,904

100.0%

So much is being done for under $ 25,000 a year.  Through this blog we are trying to raise funds for 2 years.  We are hoping that reading about how SHARE works and what SHARE is able to accomplish will inspire more of you, our good friends and supporters to lend a hand.  And, in return, Nooreen is preparing to write a thank-you letter and send along a family recipe.

Prajakta, Program Manager and Gaurav, Book keeper working at the SHARE office
Prajakta, Program Manager and Gaurav, Book keeper working at the SHARE office
SHARE is situated on the 5th floor.  This is a view from the office
SHARE is situated on the 5th floor. This is a view from the office

The last scheduled meeting of the day was with the Social Action leaders (2 representatives from each cooperative), and it was wonderful.  As usual, the women were impeccably dressed and smiling.  They may not have many nice sarees, but they will wear one of their best  for the meeting.  I see this as a sign of the success of MarketPlace, that the women value their dignity and are not presenting themselves as poor and in need of assistance, as is seen often when charity is doled out.  During the meeting we discussed various problems in their communities.  When we meet again,  they will have talked to their groups and identified a problem that affects the entire group.  Then the meetings will focus on researching this problem and how the artisans can work to improve the situation in their communities.

All of our meetings with the women are conducted on the floor.  We sit in a circle and talk.  At the Workshop, 4 things were happening – we were meeting with the Social Action Leaders, Shaily and Lalita were having a meeting with a fabric producer, the design workshop artisans, and Prajakta was having a meeting with the business leaders on profit and loss.
All of our meetings with the women are conducted on the floor. We sit in a circle and talk. At the Workshop, 4 things were happening – we were meeting with the Social Action Leaders, Shaily and Lalita were having a meeting with a fabric producer, the design workshop artisans, and Prajakta was having a meeting with the business leaders on profit and loss.

As I said, Dassehra is the New Year in the Hindu Calendar, and so to commemorate it the entire group made a Rangoli.  Rangoli is a traditional pattern made on the floor using flower petals, powders, etc.  It is usually placed at the entrance of the home as a sign of welcome.  In some rural communities women still make one every day, and the design fades throughout the day as it is stepped on by people entering and leaving the house. I asked the women if they each wanted to do their own individual ones, or form two groups or do one as an entire group.  And in true form of community, they chose to do one together.  It was quite interesting how they worked together to come up with the design.

The pattern is emerging – the women had wanted powders too, but made do with petals.  I love this photographs with all the hands of the women all doing something to make a collective artwork – I do consider Rangolis as a work of art as women do it completely free-hand.
The pattern is emerging – the women had wanted powders too, but made do with petals. I love this photographs with all the hands of the women all doing something to make a collective artwork – I do consider Rangolis as a work of art as women do it completely free-hand.
The finished piece and all the women who are the leaders and who contributed, Shaily, Nooreen and Prajakta in the middle.
The finished piece and all the women who are the leaders and who contributed, Shaily, Nooreen and Prajakta in the middle.

While coming back home in the rickshaw, I reflected on life in general in Mumbai.  Indians are great entrepreneurs and as the rickshaw wound through the traffic, I saw various small businesses on the footpath, in small shops, etc.  My favorite example is of a woman who has a cow, and every day she takes the cow and some feed to the temple and sits outside.   The cow is considered sacred in the Hindu religion and so when devotees pass by on their way into the temple, they buy some of the feed, which she sells at a small profit, and feed it to her cow.  How brilliant is that!!

A stall selling tea
A stall selling tea
A artisan making blinds on the footpath
A artisan making blinds on the footpath
Many vendors sell fruits and vegetables from small stalls on the footpath
Many vendors sell fruits and vegetables from small stalls on the footpath

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