Zehra, a young girl, all of 27 years old, has, this year, taken her first steps to being an entrepreneur. While this might sound easy for some, starting on this path wasn’t that easy for her. Living in a small village Gudina near Muzzafarnagar, with her parents, she was, like other women around her, not working or earning at all. After finishing Grade 12, a young Zehra always dabbling with colours and patterns, dreamt of being a fashion designer at NIFT. She even took a 2 year break before her graduation while she prepped for her CAT exam. Unfortunately because of lack of guidance, she didn’t get through and had to let her dreams fade away. But then she was approached by Sirohi. She is now harnessing her love for design in a different way and earns Rs 5 - 6000 a month, working from within her home!
Five months later, she is a committed artisan with Sirohi, using a skill that she just grown up knowing naturally - weaving. When asked, she couldn’t even pinpoint when she had learnt the skill - she just said that everyone in my village does it so I also know it! She weaves stools, benches, chairs, boxes and charpais, amongst a host of other products. With a quiet pride in her voice she said that since her starting with Sirohi she had innovated and shown the team about 20 new products. She’s created macrame purses, photo frames, mirror frames and lamps and she was extremely happy to share that the Sirohi team had liked them. So while, for her, a bench is the easiest product to make, the excitement in creating a new product is unparalleled.
Zehra doesn’t mind that she works out of home - she is easily able to manage her weaving and her housework together. If she has a busy day churning out a lot of orders, her housework is pushed to the evening and dealt with after work.
Her future dreams are also tied in with Sirohi and she is thrilled to continue working with them, earning and learning. Work has given her an independence she didn’t have before and it also makes her very happy that other people around her are earning because of her. When asked what she would like to tell other women who’re not working at present, she says very confidently that she would tell them to just learn the skill and start work! Its as easy as that! Zehra wants to share that weaving is a much easier and better skill than stitching - a mistake can easily be corrected without redoing the entire product - so she is keen that more women see her journey and get inspired by her.