Making Jewelry and A New Life05 Jun 2010, by Uncategorized in
Hello, there! My name is Sally. I am here in Kolkata filling in for Paul for about two months while he is back in the US. I’ve been here for two weeks now and am already blown away by the women in the jewelry program. On Friday, we spent some time sharing our stories with each other. I told them about my parents (a teacher and a pilot) and my sister (a student at Stanford). They in turn told me their stories– tales of a childhood entirely different from my own.
Their stories are not ones of life in an emotionally and financially secure home. Rather, they told me tales of abandonment, abuse, neglect, and poverty. My heart broke over and over again as they shared with me. The pain was visible in their eyes as they told me about their past. Through all of this, these women remain hopeful. They dream of brighter futures and are willing to work towards their dreams. Each day we spend in the studio brings them a day closer to obtaining skills that can lead them to financial independence. These women, who have the courage to pursue financial independence, are the women who are progressing the movement for women’s empowerment in India. I think a conversation I had with our translator illustrates that perfectly. We were talking about the jewelry she has been making lately. She made one piece that had a person in fetal position and said, "no more slavery". She told me that she wants to make a similar piece with a female figure, which will say "make your own destiny". Explaining her reasoning, she said, "In India, women are like slaves. We think it is our destiny to be so, but I want to say that we can make our own destiny." I had to blink a lot to keep from crying. It is so wonderful to see these women not only taking control of their own lives, but also expressing this empowerment in their jewelry.
"In India, women are like slaves. We think it is our destiny to be so, but I want to say that we can make our own destiny."