A young professional Pratibha Krishnaiah from Bangalore, full of enthusiasm and aspiration to make an impact on the lives of women, lands herself in a remote village in the Himalayan region. Toiling for months where to begin, she notices ladies here have unique skills in knitting for their families to stay warm in the winter. Pratibha started to explore ways to utilize their knitting skills to empower them. Never before the ladies knitted to earn a livelihood or worked to supplement to their meager agricultural income. The mere idea that they could use their skills to earn was exciting for them.
After reading their story in a newspaper in USA, I made a journey to Khetikhan. Seeing their desire to excel, I decided to help take their product to USA. Today thirty-five ladies have teamed into knitting groups to make scarves, hats, neck-warmers, socks, booties and more. They are innovating to make new products and designs. And now we have a team of volunteers in USA engaged to monetize the product of their labor.
With the leadership from Pratibha and Dhanashree, two young women from Bangalore coordinating the efforts, people everywhere can now enjoy the comfort of hand-knitted items from the heart of the Himalayas.
The ladies of Khetikhan and the others in the region may soon have a choice between the backbreaking grass cutting and livestock raising or earning a reasonable livelihood through better skills, and thus transition from dependence to independence.
When you buy their product you in fact are partnering in strengthening their hands in knitting fabric of a strong community. If you are hiker or a nature lover may be one day you would be visiting the region and have the opportunity to see the hands that knitted a cap or a scarf for you.