Saroj from Uttar Pradesh was married off at the age of fifteen. As a child she enjoyed going to school. However, her father, a poor farmer, couldn’t afford to send Saroj to school beyond 8th grade. Married life changed everything. Life in her husband’s house restricted her freedoms and opportunities even further. Her prospects for a better future began changing when a women empowerment program funded by the IKEA Foundation came to her village and offered twelve women the chance to learn embroidery and stitching.
New skills lead to a better life
Saroj’s husband did not allow her to go out of the house. But Saroj strongly believed that the work would bring huge change. She ignored her husband and took the opportunity. And her perseverance payed off; after gaining the right skills in the program, she joined Women on Wings’ business partner Rangsutra Crafts, which has a long-term partnership with IKEA’s initiative ‘Next generation social entrepreneurs’. Saroj is now creating handmade limited-edition collections of home accessories sold in selected IKEA stores across the globe.
Saroj wants her children to go far in life
With the money she earns, Saroj is able to fulfil a dream she has had for her children since she was a child herself. Saroj: “All of my children go to school. My dream is that they go far in life, that they study and progress and become what they want to. A mother would only want her children to be happy and live well.”