Handicrafts from the foothills of Himalaya empowering women
A young professional Pratibha Krishnaiah from Bangalore, full of enthusiasm and aspiration to make an impact on the lives of women, landed herself in a remote village in the Himalayan region. Laboring for months on where to begin, she noticed that ladies in the region possessed a unique skill set for knitting, acquired from caring for their families to stay warm in the winter. Pratibha started to explore ways to utilize these knitting skills to further empower them. Never before had the ladies knitted to earn a living or to supplement their limited agricultural income. The shear idea that they could use these skills to supplement their income was exciting for the women of the Himalayan region.
After reading a story of Pratibha’s efforts in a newspaper in the United States, a visitor made a journey to Khetikhan. Seeing their desire to excel, he decided to help bring their product to the States. Today, thirty-five ladies have teamed into knitting groups to make a variety of items, including: scarves, hats, neck-warmers, socks, and ponchos. In addition, they are motivated to make new products and designs. Currently, a new team of volunteers has become engaged to help monetize the product of their labor the United States.
With the leadership from Pratibha and Dhanashree (also from Bangalore), people outside India can now enjoy the comfort of hand-knitted items from the heart of the Himalayas. The ladies of Khetikhan, and others in the region, may soon have a choice between backbreaking grass cutting and livestock raising hard agricultural labor and an innate skillset, allowing them to transition from dependence to independence.
If you are a visitor of this region, you may have the opportunity to see the hands that knitted your cap or a scarf. When you buy their product, you in fact are partnering to strengthen their resolve for a stronger society.