Oasis of empowered women in Rajasthan desert

Dhinya Bai, 50, is an embroidery artisan from Pugal, Bikaner, a harsh region in the desert of Rajasthan. She is one of the 2,200 women that find employment through Women on Wings’ business partner Rangsutra Crafts.

Fighting husbands to work from home
When Dhinya started working over 30 years ago, her husband and many other men in the village were not approving that their wives wanted to work. Women were not allowed to leave their houses. However, since the work could be done from the homes, the strong women fought their husbands and started working. Their skills were recognized by URMUL Trust, a family of organizations working towards social and economic change in the lives of the people in western Rajasthan. Work started flowing in.

For Dhinya it is not monetary only, but also the confidence and the mobility. Today it is not unusual for a woman to travel for work where she gets paid as well as gets respect and appreciation. Dhinya: “Our seeds of struggle are fructifying now as our daughters and daughter-in-laws don’t have to go through the taboos of working and travelling. It’s an immense transformation.”

Handicrafts empower women and educate children
Dhinya herself has traveled to Jaipur, Delhi and Banaras where she trained craft managers. She is a sharp woman who speaks Sindhi, Marwari and Hindi. Dhinya and many others like her are looking at the future with open heart and mind. It is this openness that has brought one of the finest oeuvre of handicrafts into people’s life and in turn empowered women like Dhinya. They have built their houses, educated their children and most importantly built the spirit to live and command respect. It is literally like an oasis of empowered women in this gigantic desert.

Market place for over 2,200 rural women
Sumita Goshe worked at URMUL Trust before establishing Rangsutra Crafts in 2005. With Rangsutra Crafts, she provides a market place for the artisans. Today over 2,200 women like Dhinya find work through Rangsutra Crafts with which Women on Wings is partnering since 2008 to co-create more job opportunities for rural women.