Pride took another level when Sapna, an artisan who is engaged with Women on Wings’ partner Action Center for Transformation (ACT), saw her image on the cover of a book about social entrepreneurs and change makers. She hopes it will be translated in Hindi, so her daughter can read it out to her. Sapna may be illiterate, but determination and will power made her a change maker. For herself, her family and other women in her community.
Role model for other women
Sapna lives with her husband Manoj and their two daughters and two sons in Badshahpur village. Traditional community mentality prevented Sapna from going out of her house for many years. She did not learn how to read. But Sapna’s determination and will power to follow her dream to work and earn an income, paid off. She regularly attends skill upgrading training in up-cycling newspapers at ACT and creates different products, working from her home. Her income enables Sapna to educate her children, also her daughters. Seeing the positive change in her own life, Sapna wanted the same for other women in her community. So she created her own Self Help Group (SHG) called Noor Women’s Group. Sapna is its President and like all the other members of the SHG, Sapna deposits her monthly savings in the SHG’s bank account. She is a change maker in her own community.
The range of social entrepreneurs presented in the book are from Europe, India, the US and South Africa. One of them being Nilanjana Das, founder of Women on Wings partner ACT. What each change maker has in common is that they all acted selflessly, and took the first step to ‘do something’. Nilanjana’s drive was to encourage rural women to become artisans so they could improve their livelihood, and become more empowered and economically independent. Through ACT, Nilanjana aims to achieve sustainable livelihoods by providing skill training and employment to women artisans, like Sapna, largely in the recycling and upcycling of newspapers and cloth. This way, along with her team, she recycles the waste to resource and builds a sustainable environment. Nilanjana strives to create many more change makers in the society to bring about an integrated holistic development.
The book has been published by Bose Creative Publishers, which is primarily a collaborative platform to bring together artists and writers, and publish books with a common goal. This concept is the brainchild of Brindarica Bose, a Swiss citizen of Indian origin. While doing research for the book, she came to know about Nilanjana Das and the changes she makes to the lives of women artisans like Sapna, who, in turn, bring change to other women in her community. These two inspiring journey’s found a place in the book which was published in November 2020.
Women on Wings and ACT
ACT is a non-profit registered organization, located in Gurgaon which is part of the Delhi NCR (national capital region) which aims to achieve sustainable livelihoods by providing skill training and employment to women artisans, largely in the recycling and upcycling of newspapers. One of its initiatives is ACT Paper Wings, a community owned company of women in Self Help Groups (SHGs) from villages in Haryana. ACT Paper Wings markets the products made by village women under the wings of ACT. Women on Wings and ACT have been collaborating since January 2019.
Image: Nilanjana and Sapna