Tara Tiwari’s family is from Uttar Pradesh, but she settled with her husband in Mumbai many years ago. Her family and her husband’s family are very conservative, and she was raised in a sheltered environment with little contact with or knowledge of the world outside her home. Her in-laws insisted that she wear a long ghunghat, a veil to cover her head and face. Tara was very shy and afraid to speak to outsiders. But a chance encounter with a neighbor who happened to do embroidery at a MarketPlace-connected cooperative changed her life.
This woman suggested to Tara that she might be able to work at MarketPlace. Although working outside the home was forbidden by her family, Tara somehow convinced her husband to allow her to go. She first worked at SHARE and then became an embroidery artisan. She has been part of the MarketPlace organization for 22 years now.
After starting to work, Tara discovered a whole new world. She had never even been to a grocery store or vegetable market, but she began to buy household items and interact with the people there. Getting to know her fellow artisans also helped her overcome her fear of speaking to strangers. The money she earned enabled her to become financially independent and improve her family’s standard of living. She learned to handle home finances wisely, and was able to make major changes. These included helping her husband build a new house which was a vast improvement over where they had been living.
Tara credits MarketPlace with helping to transform that nervous and naïve young woman into someone who is independent and accomplished. She is now one of the design team. But she is the one who gathered the courage to make that first step out of her home!