On this day of my visit to Mumbai, I met Bhakti, the SHARE social worker, who discussed Pushpika the many programs and activities she has found to benefit the artisans.
This hard-working and dedicated young woman is constantly networking, searching the internet and talking to the artisans to learn what their needs are and how they might be met.
Our MarketPlace website and catalog can only highlight some of the many life (i.e., not directly business-related) programs the artisans can utilize. There is a lot going on, including anemia education and treatment, procuring artisan cards (which offer such benefits as health insurance and support for stalls at government expositions), and education about bank accounts. For the artisans’ kids, a nonprofit organization called the Magic Bus uses a “sport for development” program to empower children and youth to make effective choices in the areas of gender equality, education, health, leadership and livelihood.
On this day, Bahkti and I were joined by two interns, graduate students in social work who are spending the semester working with MarketPlace and the artisans. Later that day we all went to a meeting of the stress-reduction workshop, one of the programs developed in response to the artisans’ request. While I could not understand the therapist’s Hindi, it seemed to me that the women were enjoying the discussion and were getting something out of the experience.
Meanwhile, another group, much smaller, was sitting at the other end of the room. They were rolling fabric beads, which will be made into necklaces and bracelets – and maybe more – as everyone thinks creatively about recycling.’