The Women Behind It All: Meet Biwi
This is absolutely going to be my favorite part of each of these 3 part series. I get to introduce you to the amazing women artisans who make our products; the very reason this company is what it is. I couldn't be more thrilled <3 (Don't you just adore her smile?!)
So without further ado, meet Biwi Chunni. She works with one of our cooperatives and makes the yarn many of you use. There are 10 people in her family and include herself, her husband, 4 sons and 4 daughters. (And I thought just one was a handful.) :) Her husband is a cart puller, her four sons are studying in school and her daughters also make yarn. Until I went to India I had no idea what a cart puller was, I mean it seems obvious enough, but you don't really get it until you see it for yourself. These men pull around large wooden carts stacked with spices or other goods from loading truck, to warehouse, to markets and so on. Many times they leave their families for months at a time to go into a larger city to work where they can make more money. <3
Biwi has been working with one of our cooperatives that we have had the longest standing relationship with. She has been with this cooperative and making Darn Good Yarn yarn since it's inception which is why I thought she would be the perfect #strongwoman to start with. <3 We asked Biwi how making yarn has impacted her life and this is what she had to say, "Earlier I used to make beedi (local cigarettes) but due to an allergy I had to quit and was able to work making yarn. Making yarn pays me well, I don't get sick and I also get paid on time as promised. The money I earn helps to support my family. I am able to do my household work from 6am until 9am and then I work from 9am until 5pm making yarn."
(The allergy Biwi is referring to is actually nicotene poisoning, but unfortunately many of them don't realize this. All the more reason why I knew I had to do something!)
What many people don't know is that a lot of the locals in the areas where our cooperatives are do not have access to consistent and trustworthy work and so they end up rolling cigarettes which has many health concerns. By working as an artisan for Darn Good Yarn, these women are able to have safe work year around and also paid fair wages to help support their families.
ONE LAST IMPORTANT THING. Next week we are going to be talking about some specific needs that Biwi and the cooperative as a whole have and how we can work together to help meet those needs. So stay tuned. :)
- Nicole Snow