Making it a poster scheme for financial freedom and self reliance among women in India, a path breaking female employment programme started by carpet manufacturing company Obeetee in 2015 in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh has officially recorded over a whopping 400% increase in female labour participation. In just 7 years, over 1800 women from the villages of Mirzapur have fought societal hurdles and age-old patriarchal practices to come forward and become master craftsmen; weaving the most spectacular and intricate carpets.
Now, a phenomenal show comprising Mirzapur’s female carpet weavers is all set to open in Delhi’s Bikaner House on July 10. The showcase will introduce its viewers to some iconic stories of women empowerment. ‘Fate Lines - How the Thread Changed the Destiny of Mirzapur’s Women’, is made up of 65 photographs taken by journalist and photographer Kounteya Sinha from the heart of UP’s invisible villages and will narrate the story of their incredible journey.
Today Rekha Devi who is a master weaver can tie a whopping 8000 knots a day on average. She was originally from Nepal and became a mother of four children by the time she had turned 25. For years she was tied to a husband who was addicted to alcohol and gambling however she did not give up and eventually started working with Obeetee. She runs her own house now and facilitates the education of her four children. Rekha Devi's is just one of the incredible stories that are set to come out through this phenomenal show that will be open to the public till July 13.
Starting the training programme was not an easy journey. Even though they were offering free training along with a stipend, women were not coming forward to learn. The company had to work hard to convince the elders in the village to let/encourage women to come forward. They also provided an attached crèche to make it easier for young mothers to come forward and once the first few training centres became successful, the programme took off.
Obeetee as an organization emphasizes that they have always been committed to promoting gender equality and empowering women. The showcase sheds light on their journey towards inclusivity that started with employing more women weavers in Mirzapur and beyond. You can find more about Obeetee here.
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