As a young girl Shabnam Parveen dreamt of becoming a teacher.
Today she may not stand in front of a class with children. Though as a trainer at Women on Wings’ social business partner Jute Artisans, she shares her knowledge and skills with other women artisans in rural India. Providing training makes her extremely happy and proud. She graciously shared her story with Women on Wings.
At 26 years old, Shabnam entered an arranged marriage. Before the wedding she and her new husband had never spoken with each other. Raised in a large family with an irregular income, Shabnam went to school until she was 14 and then stopped.
Shabnam shared, “I started working to contribute to the family income, which made me really proud. Initially I worked at an organization which did not pay me very well, but ten years ago I came to know about Jute Artisans and started working for them.”
Her father knew how much Shabnam enjoyed working at Jute Artisans. He ensured that her husband and her in-laws agreed to her continuing there after marriage.
Running the house
Married life was very different from living with her parents and siblings. There were more responsibilities, not only managing a household, but also the fact that she brought in the main source of income. They also look after her mother-in-law.
Shabnam says: “My income enables me to run my household and provide for my mother-in-law and husband’s requirements. I have full control of my earnings. Not only that, whatever little bit my husband earns, he gives it to me.”
Her family values Shabnam’s efforts and talent. “They feel proud, and they support me as they can clearly see who runs the house. I feel like the man of the family,” adds Shabnam smiling proudly.
Shabnam now 32 years old, has not yet been able to conceive children but that does not make her unhappy. She is extremely pleased that her current job helps her to contribute to the village’s advancement. As a trainer, she instructs women in nearby villages on behalf of Jute Artisans which adds to Shabnam becoming more independent, empowered, and secure.
Shabnam: “Now I feel that even if the worst happens to me, and I am made to start my life from scratch, I can easily do it. I love making other people happy, and when I train other women I am convinced they too will have a happier life once they start earning an income.”
Shabnam related a dream that she has for her family’s future: “I want to own a shop and become an entrepreneur. This way my husband would have a permanent source of earnings with ownership and control. That will make him happy too.”
Women on Wings team and experts have worked with Jute Artisans for several years co-creating solutions on areas such as finances, sales, costing & pricing and managing working capital in order to enable them to create jobs for more women in rural India.