Meet Vasanti Mirkar
"Now my neighbors come to me when they have a problem...or just want to talk to someone who listens."
Vasanti Mirkar Embroidery Artisan at Nirmaan Collective
Vasanti was there in 1981 at the very beginning of MarketPlace. She was 1 of the 3 women whose plight started the development of the MarketPlace program. She has grown along with MarketPlace, overcoming obstacles with strength and determination and becoming a leader in her cooperative and neighborhood.
One of her challenges was surviving polio; another was surviving domestic violence. But when she escaped her abusive husband and returned to her parents' home, she felt a lot of pressure to remarry. "But," she says, "then I decided to do something with my life."
She became a Social Action leader at Nirmaan Collective. Recently she and the other Nirmaan artisans took up the challenge of improving sanitation in an area that had a block of 8 poorly maintained toilets serving over 40 families with no other facilities. The group's actions included surveys, community meetings, and letters. Eventually the State Council representative promised that the toilets would be repaired and the city would clean them daily. "Now my neighbors come to me when they have a problem...or just want to talk to someone who listens," says Vasanti.