Meet Safiya Begum KhanAugust 25th, 2022
"Working at WARE is more than a job for me. I am happy in the group and the togetherness we have. The support of the other members is always there even if we do not talk about it."
Safiya Begum Khan
EMBROIDERY ARTISAN, AT WARE COLLECTIVE
Women are generally discouraged from working after they get married. When Safiya got married her husband did not want her to continue her job and they moved to a different part of town. She gave up her job at WARE. When he lost his job, however, she convinced him to move back to Santacruz so she could rejoin the WARE Collective. "Working at WARE is more than a job for me. I am happy in the group and the togetherness we have. The support of the other members is always there even if we do not talk about it."
Safiya shares that her husband had a hard time understanding the group work ethic and sense of commitment. He had never experienced this kind of job environment himself. "We used to have many arguments when I talked about deadlines and meetings." During COVID he lost his job again with no recourse. MarketPlace, on the other hand, paid all the artisans a subsidy. "I was the only person receiving money," she noted. "This changed the way he looked at me and my job."
Recently, her husband saw another side of Safiya. Unable to find employment, he started selling clothes on the street. During a raid, his goods were seized by the authorities along with other vendors'. But Safiya stepped in and pointed out that he had not been selling on the main footpath and that it was unjust that their goods had been taken. "When I spoke to the authorities, initially they ignored me. But then when I started giving examples and asking for details they took me seriously. They even complimented me on the way I was able to communicate and they allowed us to take our goods back without paying any fine. I felt very proud of myself."
Over time her husband has come to support her in his own way. "He still does not know much about my work and has not met anyone from my workplace. But there is a lot of positive change in him when it comes to respecting my work and my abilities. He also is helping me in household related work. Things are much better than before."