A story is told of a man who was challenged by a king to remain standing in waist deep water on a wintry night. So, the man, clothed in nothing but a loincloth, steps into the water.
Across the river, in the darkness, a small lamp shines in a window. It is frightfully cold, but he keeps his eyes on the light.
Slowly, the bitter night comes to an end. At dawn, the king and his courtiers arrive. To their surprise, they find the man alive. They question him. He makes no reply. But the king notices a gleam in the man’s eye.
Hope is the strongest instinct known to mankind. On that note, let us tell you another story. Sudha, pronounced Soo Dha, is a woman with little or no formal education, who manages a small clothing business with her husband successfully. She earns less than a hundred dollars each month. Yet, she finds the time to train other women and young girls to sew and mend and has sent her daughter to college.
Some grumble about the numbing cold; others keep their eyes on the light. Like the man in the story, Sudha did not give up. She says, ‘There is nothing to worry. One must wake up and continue.’
Last year, she joined our ethical packaging division. She led a team of five women, trained them and delivered the consignment on time. No project management skills, no computer knowledge, and, more importantly, no mistakes. In fact, she is ready to take on the next order with equal determination.
Our hope is to reach out to more Sudhas across the globe. It is true that our work has only just begun. By 2020, SmartHug would like to enable at least another 100 such women and girls with market access and financial opportunities. Could we do it alone? The answer is no. Besides, it’s smarter to work together.
As a customer, you could partner with us by making a purchase. Or, just be a friend and spread the word.
SmartHug is a for-profit organization which shares its earnings with the artisans. We are based out of New York, Toronto, and New Delhi. If you are an art lover or a local creator in any of these cities, call us. We like coffee, but we like collaborating better.