Meet this week’s featured Artisan Co-Owner of the Week, Palani.
Palani is a Master Trainer and basket weaving artisan at Bangalore Greenkraft Madurai. Widowed with two children, ages 17 and 15, Palani endured severe financial pressures. She found work as agricultural labor, but employment was irregular due to farming’s seasonal nature. Being the only person in her family to bring in money, Palani was forced to take out loans during off-seasons in order to support her children. She would lay awake at night fearful that the loan sharks would arrive at her doorstep demanding retribution. What’s more, her family also looked down on her for being a day laborer, finding little respect in her work and her inability to support her kids.
Palani has now undergone training and has been able to pay off all her loans by planning ahead financially. She feels much safer knowing that the loan sharks will no longer threaten her or her family. A chronically sick daughter at home, Palani also manages to save for her medical expenses as well as for her children’s education. Her relationships within her family have also improved as they now respect her for earning a regular income and being able to financially support her kids.
Not only has Palani gained the confidence of her family, but she has also gained confidence within herself. Being a Master Trainer, she often travels to other units to train women in the art of basket weaving. “I am proud of myself and my friends for working here, and I am proud that I have become a Master Trainer who can train others,” she says.
Stay tuned for more inspiring stories from our Artisan Co-Owners next week!