Jaleshawari defies village tradition by earning an income

Already a few weeks after having started working for Rassaa Creations (Rassaa), twenty-five-year-old Jaleshawari experiences joy and positive change in her life. Jaleshawari happily tells her story to the Women on Wings team that came to the city of Jamshedpur in the state of Jharkhand to work with Rassaa on its supply chain management. Rassaa is a social enterprise that aims to empower women from marginalized communities to determine their own futures and protect their forests. It also strives to create unique, innovative, eco-friendly products that sustainably build livelihoods. Among its product range are Siali leaf plates, hand made by tribal women.

Earning income with traditional products
Jaleshawari got married through an arranged marriage when she was around 18 years of age. She now has two daughters and a son. Until recently she just stayed at home and did the household chores. Since a long way back women in her village are collecting leaves and making rough plates. It is a cultural tradition when somebody’s marriage is arranged in the village. Sometimes Jaleshawari would work with the other village women on making such plates. Recently Jaleshawari was offered the opportunity to earn an income from making the plates. Representatives of Rassaa visited her village along with a village coordinator and gave the women the opportunity to produce the plates for Rassaa.

Defying tradition
In the culture of her village, it is not seen as a good sign for a woman to work outside her community. People would rather be hungry than have the women working outside the home. But because this job came to Jaleshawari’s village and the women can work from home, the people in her community are slowly becoming more positive about the women working.
Luckily her husband and mother-in-law feel happy, and they are supportive as her income does makes a difference in their lives. The income from her job has helped her in managing the household expenditure. Now that Jaleshawari is working, she has complete control over her earnings. Not only that, but her husband also gives his entire earnings to her as he believes she can better manage it!

Getting an identity
Jaleshawari did not have any expectations of getting a job when she was young. She went to school till 9th standard. As she states about her youth: “It is strange, but I never dreamt of anything when I was young.”
Thanks to her work she has gained confidence and she now has the ambition to grow further. She is dreaming that her family and especially her children get a better life. Her kids make her happy. She is really excited to get this new opportunity of working and earning her own income.
She adds: “I am happy that I can support my family. Also, I feel that I have some identity now. I am able to send my children to a local government school and I can give them better food.”

Image | Jaleshawari second from left, front row