The MarketPlace organization in India consists of three complementary parts: the independent artisan-run producer cooperatives; MarketPlace-Mumbai, overseeing the business side; and Share, the nonprofit concerned with personal development and support of the artisans. Suvarna Barkada, 29, and Pratibha Koli, 28, are social workers with Share. Both are the first in their families to graduate from college, and both continued on to obtain their Masters in Social Work degrees.
Suvarna works with the Armaan Club for the artisans' children, overseeing the various programs designed to help the children succeed at school and in life. There are dance classes, judo, soccer, day camps and overnight camps where both boys and girls learn about fair play, leadership and self-expression. In addition, there are programs for academic support. "Together with the mothers of the children we design some fun and educational programs. I love helping the children excel in their studies and getting them to think about their future." Some discussions led the artisans to start savings accounts to put money away for their children's educational future. Suvarna has a one-year-old daughter, and she also wants her to go to a good English medium school and have the freedom to choose her own way.
Pratibha runs the social development programs including Darpan and Social Action. She notes: "Share is unconventional in that we social workers do not design programs on our own. We work with the women, listen to them, get them to identify a problem and find a way to solve it. That is what I love about my work." Pratibha often networks with different organizations to find useful collaborations that answer the artisans' needs. She has encouraged the women to read the newspaper and discuss an article every week. One afternoon a week she has set aside for any woman who wants to come to talk to her about any issue. "They trust me with their problems," she says.