Picnic for Artisans’ Day!

It’s that time of the year again! Artisans’ Day is our way of celebrating the artisans who work with us. This is a bi-annual event and this year we decided to do things a little differently.

As you all know, MarketPlace Directors, Pushpika and Lalita were in India in March to plan the fall line, meet the artisans and review the various social programs. And what with never ending meetings, intensive sampling and collection planning there is very little time to breathe – but recreation has always been a priority as it is usually at the bottom of the artisans’ list of priorities.  And so we all went for a picnic.

Tikujiniwadi is a resort in the Thane District, a couple of hours drive from the office. All the artisans, business leaders and staff members collected at 7.30 at the office- which means that most of the women woke up at 4 am to cook, clean and do all the household jobs that they normally do during the day. After the longish ride to the resort, everyone sat down for a buffet breakfast of medu vada, sambhar, idli and upma– breakfast delicacies from the south of India.

Each group had prepared a performance of some sort for the picnic. WARE sang a song about the city’s housing rehabilitation problem. Sahara enacted a play about women’s helplines for various emergencies. Nirmaan put up a play about SHARE’s golden rules for staff and artisans- things like coming on time, switching off your cell phone in the office etc. Artisans from Arpan, enacted a skit about the superstitions people have about not being able to conceive male children- and the limits they go to to avoid giving birth to girls. Sevrina from Nirmaan, who we have introduced to you in an earlier post, sang a song despite her hearing and speech impairment. The artisans from Pushpanjali and Ashiana put up two different plays on domestic violence. Yogesh, Production and Finance Manager at MarketPlace, tells us, “The plays enacted by the artisans were a great way for each group to see what the other group could do. Watching each other perform plays on important issues was educational and everyone learnt something valuable.”

Pushpika then addressed everyone, congratulating them on their work, areas of improvement, plans and events in the US and plans for the future.

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You would think that the great Indian lunch buffet would be the highlight, but the rides and water park took the cake!!!  At 7 pm, it was still difficult to get all the women together to get on the busses to return home!!!! Lakshmi from Sahara group says, “We had never seen anything like it in our lives! The rides and the water park were just amazing! We went on each ride twice and thrice till we were dizzy and even splashed around in the pools- saris and all!”

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