From Survivors to Thrivers: How Carpet Weaving Empowers Women in Mirzapur/Bhadohi

Giving back to the community today has become more of a necessity for sustainable growth than just an obligation. The wave that once started with globalization as foreign companies settled in India provided job opportunities and contributed to the development of the neighboring lands has actually tapped into the hearts of many businesses. We at Obeetee Carpets understand the importance of ‘growing together’ with the community and actively do our part in doing so. Residing in the heart of Mirzapur for the past century, we have taken significant steps to improve the lives of the neighboring villages and our weavers. The philosophy of giving back is embedded in our operations. A prime example of our ethics and commitment can be seen in the steps we have taken towards empowering the people of Bhadohi, especially women.

From Survivors to Thrivers How Carpet Weaving Empowers Women in Mirzapur Bhadohi

The History

More than just a buzz on social media, women empowerment is a process that comes with the ability to enable women to take over their lives and contribute like men in the household to uplift their communities. Being a topic of concern for centuries, this issue has been significantly resolved in the urban world; however, the rural parts of our country have yet to adapt to this ideology. As per the history books, the town of Mirzapur has been through some socio-economic crisis. The norms of the old world prevailed on the roads of this place, preventing women from maintaining households and limiting them from the right to education, employment, etc. The inequalities in gender left the women helpless as their husbands left for the cities for better job opportunities and higher pay. What people saw as a challenge, we saw an opportunity for the community's growth. We at Obeetee Carpets set out to transform the women of Mirzapur into thrivers from mere survivors by pitching them to learn the art of crafting carpets. Through multiple initiatives and a lot of convincing, we managed to make the women weavers at our facility today self-sufficient and confident.

The Journey (Initiatives)-

It all started in 2015 when Obeetee Carpets 1st introduced the Women Weavers Program. As mentioned earlier, the reduced workforce availability took over the town. The male members of the households migrated to cities for better jobs, leaving the women miserable and on their own. Initially, the challenge was convincing the women and their families to participate. However, understanding the situation of these women, we offered them certain facilities that made them build their interest in weaving carpets. We provided them with free training sessions with stipends and in-house crutch facilities for young mothers, eventually winning their trust. It started with a few, but the light of a matchstick was enough to spread the fire, gradually leading more women to participate in the Women Weaver program and embark on a remarkable transformative and self-sufficient journey.

The impact of this program was much more than we expected. Currently, We have trained over 1200 women weavers, and more and more join every day. Apart from financial independence, this program has helped remove gender biases and stereotypes and has reshaped rural areas. Today, Obeetee Carpets is a renowned name in the decor industry as we are slowly expanding our hands in the furniture and cushions market. From minor to major, we have worked on projects of all capacities, proving our commitment and efficiency. The women who once were limited to the kitchen and raising children had no idea that one day, they would be able to tie more than 8000 knots a day, and their efforts would be gracing the new parliament of India. Last year, the efforts of these women were brought to light for the real world. In July 2023, we held an exhibition in Delhi named Fate Lines. The exhibition portrayed the carpets crafted by the women weavers of Bhadohi.

Other Programmes-

The impact of making the women weavers thrive in their lives was much more. The income enabled these women to provide their families with the proper education and healthcare facilities. The success of the women weavers program encouraged us to do even more for society. Today, our house collaborates with Pratham, one of the most prominent non-governmental educational institutes. The school has benefited over 15000 students, aiding them with a better future. We have also taken steps to build public washrooms in the neighboring villages and ensure proper sanitation. Another success is our access to medical services in the adjoining villages.

Our vision is to create a community without disparities between men and women. The woman weavers of Mirzapur are living proof that one such action can have such a significant impact. Since the program's launch, there has been a substantial increase in women's participation, eventually leading to the betterment of the lives of the women weavers.