Creative Handicrafts: Hope for Women in Mumbai


What is the best way to help women living in poverty? In Mumbai, women are working together to improve their lives, through education, and better paying jobs.

Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Christy VanArragon.

Voice 2 

And I’m Colin Lowther. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

Life was not good for Lalita Kamble. She lived in a slum, a very poor area, in Mumbai, India. Her husband drank too much alcohol. And he beat her. But life got better. She started working with an organisation called Creative Handicrafts. She learned to make clothes and earned money from what she made. She is now independent. And her husband is getting help for his problems. Kamble told CNN,

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‘I know now that I can take care of my two children. I know that I am strong. My husband no longer beats me because he knows that I will leave him. I am not afraid. There is courage in my heart now’.

Voice 2 

Creative Handicrafts has changed the life of Kamble and many other women. But how exactly has it brought hope to hundreds of poor women in Mumbai? Today’s Spotlight is on Creative Handicrafts.

Voice 1 

Creative Handicrafts began small. In 1984 Sister Isabel Martin visited India from Spain. She came to India to visit the slums of Mumbai. Mumbai’s slums are very crowded. They cover only 6% of the city’s land. But 55% of Mumbai’s population live in this small area. During her visit, Sister Isabel met many women who suffered from poverty. Many of them also suffered violent beatings from their husbands. The women had low self respect. And they had little education and no jobs. Sister Isabel said,

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‘I saw they were oppressed. They did not have control over their own lives. They were only supposed to obey their husband and look after the children.’

Voice 2 

Sister Isabel knew she wanted to help the women become independent. So, she decided to live with the women in the slums. Soon, she discovered the best way to help the women. It was to help them achieve economic freedom. Then, their husbands would respect them.  More importantly, the women would begin to respect themselves.

Voice 1 

Sister Isabel began by gathering a small group of women together. Two of them taught the other women to sew. They used cloth to make soft toys for children to play with. The women sold the toys and shared the profit. Then they began to make and sell clothes. At first there was only a small group of women working together. But gradually more and more women joined the group. The women who work for Creative Handicrafts are proud and independent. They make clothes from local material, with designs made by people in a local tribe.

Voice 2 

Anjali Tapkire heard about Creative Handicrafts from people who lived near her. She decided to start working with the organisation. She saw that working there was different from working in other places.

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‘Here I saw that the relationship was not one of master and servant.’

Voice 1 

Instead, the women at Creative Handicrafts work together for the interest of the whole group. There is not one business owner that makes all of the money. Instead, the women each receive money based on what they make and sell.

Voice 2 

Over the years Sister Isabel and Creative Handicrafts have developed many other ways of helping women. They have provided day care, to take care of young children while their mothers work. They have started schools for older children. They help poor children pay for their education. And they have developed social work programmes like a saving and credit programme.

Voice 1 

The Creative Handicrafts website tells many of the women’s success stories. One story is about Pooja. Pooja had an unhappy time as a child. Her mother died when she was young. Her father married again. But his new wife treated Pooja like a slave. Later, Pooja married and hoped she would be happy. Her husband had a small job. But they were poor. Then he became sick and died. Pooja knew nothing about life outside of her little house. She did not know what to do.

Voice 2 

Then she heard about Creative Handicrafts. And her life began to change. Creative Handicrafts helped to pay for her daughters’ education. The organisation also helped her to make her house larger so her daughters had a place to study. Creative Handicrafts provided Pooja with counselling. She was able to talk with others about her problems and emotions. For her, Creative Handicrafts was like a family.

Voice 1 

Mahadevi Bonier also works at Creative Handicrafts. Because of her work, Bonier can now send her daughters to a good school. She explains how Creative Handicrafts has supported and changed her,

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‘I feel this place is like my home, like a family. I used to be very frightened to go anywhere or to talk to anyone. But I have gained a lot of courage here. Today I can face anyone without fear.’

Voice 2 

Lalita Kamble agrees. She believes the women are so supportive because they share the same life experiences. She explained to CNN,

Voice 3 

‘Even if you do not say anything, they understand. They read your body and your face. They understand because they have been in the same situation. They know. I have never experienced this level of support before. Finally I am not alone.’

Voice 1 

Today Creative Handicrafts operates 13 centres in Mumbai. And over 800 women and their families work with the organisation. The clothes that they make are sold in India, and other countries too. Stores in France, Spain, and Germany and the United Kingdom all sell the clothes made by the women from Creative Handicrafts.

Voice 2 

Rudi Dalvai works in international trade. He buys clothes from Creative Handicrafts to sell in Italy. He likes the way that the organisation operates. In a short film about Creative Handicrafts, he said,

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‘They give the women the chance to become business people... What I like here, is that they give the women power.’

Voice 1 

Anjali Tapkire is now the President of Creative Handicrafts. She explains what makes the organisation so special,

Voice 5 

‘If only a single person receives the profit there can be no social work. Here everyone is a member and we all receive the profit. Creative Handicrafts demonstrates that profit making and social work can co-exist.’

Voice 2 

The writer of this programme was Shelagh Godwin. The producer was Luke Haley. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this programme and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this programme again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This programme is called ‘Creative Handicrafts: Hope for Women in Mumbai.’

Voice 1 

You can also leave your comments on our website. Or you can email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also find us on Facebook - just search for spotlightradio. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Are the clothes you buy made in your city?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Dela
said on July 22, 2014

Creative Handicrafts was an excellent idea that helped women to get rid off dependence and poverty. In this way the women working there together are able to achieve economic freedom, that particularly means having a possibility to support their children giving them the quality, appropriate education.
Thanks for interesting program!

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oleksandrk
said on August 11, 2014

I liked this program. Thank you!

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Dmitry Lesnichy
said on October 12, 2015

It is wonderful that there are people like Sister Isabel Martin in the world.
The world is not without good people.

Thank you Spotlight for this interest article.

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huyentrang1296
said on October 16, 2015

Creative Handicrafts is a miraculous thing to the women in Mumbai . Hope this organasation will be more and more develop to help people who meet with serious difficulties in life .

Thanks Spotlight for this programme

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doducbinh
said on October 18, 2015

huyentrang1296,you come from Viet Nam

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huyentrang1296
said on October 28, 2015

doducbinh Đúng rồi b. :)

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msluan
said on February 28, 2017

Hello, everyday when i go to the company, the first 30 minutes i usually to listen spotlight. All articles are attractive me and give me a lot of knowlege and something maybe I have even dont known before. At present, I try to writing through leaving comment relating the topic and hope can speaking more fluently.
These organization like Creative Handicrafts is very useful for poor women in the poor countries who have a little education. They must take care the whole family and special is their child. They do not earn money. So they do not effect and power in their family. The best solution is provide them the job they can earn money and support the kindergarten to take care their child. After that, they can become more independent and stronger to decide their life.

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kenhieuloilam
said on March 02, 2017

We respect our precious dignity in life. We do beautiful good things and keep away from not good things. We respect everyone’s precious dignity. We develop life for human dignity. When we live our lives for beautiful good things we find ourselves. When we sacrifice for beautiful good things we find ourselves. We find beautiful good things. We find meaning of life. We respect our precious dignity and everyone’s precious dignity. We develop beautiful good things. We live our lives for beautiful good things. We die for beautiful good things.