Bharti creates a new future for herself and her family

Meet Bharti; an eighteen years’ old artisan from Panna district in the state of Madya Pradesh who loves to do paintwork for Women on Wings’ partner PashooPakshee. The creation of wildlife inspired accessories and jewelry made from terra cotta and papier mache gives Bharti not just immense joy, it also gives her an income which adds to her family income. She is happy to be able to contribute to her family’s income.

Contributing to the family
A Women on Wings’ team visited the PashooPakshee center in Panna early March 2022 to work with the PashooPakshee team on structuring it financials. That is where they met Bharti who happily shared about her work. She is unmarried and she combines her work at PashooPakshee with studying in class 12. She lives with her parents, has two sisters who are married and one brother. The family does not own any agricultural land and her father found no work in the village or nearby town. He works in the state of Gujarat and only visits home once in two or three years. So, Bharti’s job at PashooPakshee is an important contribution and she hopes one day it will enable her father to come back and live with the family again. She has been working at PashooPakshee after she heard about it from a village NGO.

All are equal
Bharti’s village has a very rigid caste structure, and she belongs to the so-called lowest strata. At the PashooPakshee center, women and girls from all castes sit and work together. Here she is respected for her skill. The artisans enjoy working together, chatting about daily life and in the meantime creating beautiful handmade products which are all wildlife inspired. This job has made her feel confident and respected. And empowered that she can use the skills learnt here anywhere to make a living. Her dream as a young girl was to become a professional artist one day. That dream has come true six months ago. Now she dreams of something that may impact her entire community and beyond: she feels one day the work at PashooPakshee will help reduce the caste divisions.

Social entrepreneurship
Providing alternate livelihood to communities living on the fringes of protected forest goes a long way in supporting wildlife conservation. Women on Wings’ partner PashooPakshee generates income for these communities by creating wildlife inspired souvenirs which reduces their dependence on the forests that they live in. Its founder Savini Sonavaria started PashooPakshee with the aim to design and supply wildlife inspired souvenirs, like home décor, accessories, and apparel, to tourist destinations handmade by local – mostly women – artisans to generate sustainable livelihoods and giving tourists a meaningful take away.

Partnership for the goals
The social enterprise from Mumbai and Women on Wings have collaborated since June 2021 on their joint goal of creating extra jobs and livelihood opportunities for women in rural India. Between June 2021 and early March 2022, all workshops related to building their business strategy had taken place online.