A Culture of Mutual SupportSeptember 19th, 2023
Lavina Dandekar, Tailor at Nirmaan Collective
In stark contrast to the fast-fashion industry, where low-cost goods are often produced by exploited workers in dangerous conditions, MarketPlace was founded to give artisans a livable wage from dignified work in a safe environment. But that's just the first step. To achieve its broader goal of transforming lives and communities, MarketPlace encourages women to help each other in determining their financial destiny. In addition to training each other in the skills of apparel production and business management, the women work together to identify obstacles to financial security, discover collective solutions, and learn from their peers. Over the years, supported by MarketPlace, women have taught programs on household budgeting, opening bank accounts, and planning for the future. They have launched collective saving clubs, where each artisan contributes to a group account that earns a higher return. Nirmaan Collective helped tailor Lavina Dandekar get her first ATM card, allowing her to experience the dignity of financial independence. "I can withdraw money on time for school fees and for paying utility bills," she notes with pride. "But the most important part is that I am not dependent on anybody for managing my money."