Support, Friendship, Dreams and AmbitionsMarch 11th, 2022 | By Pushpika Freitas, President of MarketPlace
Aside from economic security, the cooperatives offer support, friendship and a space for dreams and ambitions. Many of the artisans came to Mumbai from their home villages after they got married. They left behind their own communities, friends and family to come to a huge, confusing and not necessarily welcoming city.
In the midst of all this, these women held onto one quintessential ambition: to find a way to support their families and educate their children. As it turned out, the artisan cooperatives have provided a framework for their lives and ambitions that goes beyond the paycheck. In addition to economic security, the groups are like the family they left behind. The women can turn to their fellow members for friendship and support.
In addition, their social activism has them engaging with their communities as the artisans are involved in helping their neighbors learn about health and welfare concerns, access assistance and improve public services. Enlarging their network in this way gives them another layer of extended family.
The organization that encompasses MarketPlace and Share and every individual artisan cooperative may have begun with a simple desire for income, but it grew organically from there as each woman found her own path. Many programs and initiatives came directly from the artisans' needs and hopes. Economic security and the support of their groups has allowed the women to explore new ways of thinking and learning. Their voyage of self-discovery has led them to learn about science, social structures and history. Their creativity is lauded, and they are able to incorporate fun in their lives through celebrations and companionship within their cooperatives.