Ramila Bamanya has been working with Women on Wings’ partner Sahaj – an organization for women’s development – for the past 19 years. Sahaj works in Dahod with tribal women artisans of eastern Gujarat, like Ramila, and provides home-based livelihood opportunities to address the issue of annual migration.
Eager to learn
Ramila seemed excited as she talked about how her zeal for learning something new pushed her to join Sahaj: “The Sahaj team held a meeting in our village to invite women to join their training and work for them. But I was not in the village at that time as we had migrated to work and earn an income. When we came back, I heard about the Sahaj meeting and immediately became interested.” Ramila got connected to Sahaj’s team and was able to join the training and after three months she started working. First as a cutter, but her neat work and experience finally made her master cutter and assistant production in charge. Continues Ramila: “I am now a trainer myself and also work in the quality control, next to doing the handcraft work. I love to learn new things and now I get to impart my learning to other women”.
Earning and creating
Ramila manages her work at Sahaj with household chores which makes a busy life. “After joining Sahaj, I have become conscious about the value of time. I feel like now I am actually living my life, not merely passing days. I feel good when people appreciate my work. They respect me and I feel good about standing apart, making a name for myself. I am earning for myself and that is important to me. The biggest joy is that through my work I am getting to present something new and creative before the world. The best part of my day is when we write our daily work report and I write how much work I finished that day.” That sense of accomplishment is worth all the hard work Ramila has to put in to manage her housework and the job.
Sahaj is family
Mostly, families in rural India include parents and children. Ramila lives only with her husband whose education – up to a Bachelor degree and a Master of Arts – she supported thanks to her regular income. He pursued a job in teaching but, unfortunately, was unable to get one despite trying hard which made him very depressed. Ramila supported her husband till he found a new zest to life. Sahaj has helped him find a job in Dahod. However, there is more to what she loves about working. “The work atmosphere at Sahaj is so nice”, she goes on. “Here, we are a family. We care for each other. And that makes this work so much more important for us”.