Growing up in America, I have had the privilege of partaking in a variety of “lifestyle improvement” programs. From a 6-year stint with Girl Scouts to an experimental cooking club in high school, I have not only gained a well-rounded education, but I have also learned what my strengths are and where my passions lie. Unfortunately, not everyone has had the same opportunities as I have, which is one of the many reasons why Anchal holds educational workshops for our artisans. A portion of the proceeds from your pillow and quilt purchases go to training these women in leadership, creative healing, and women’s health.
Jaimala, our partner and the Director of Vatsalya, led a group of Anchal artisans in one of these educational workshops this past month. The “Hierarchy of Needs” exercise focused on teaching the women how they can and must continue to identify their needs and, consequently, fulfill their needs. From the workshop, Jaimala was able to develop a better understanding of the artisans’ perceived level of needs. Here is what she found:
-80% of the women invest 60% of their energy and thoughts in the most basic needs, including food and shelter (They feel there is no time for other things)
-20% of the women invest 30% of their energy in making sure that they are respected by others, that they have self-esteem, and that they are beautiful and healthy
-45% of the women invest 20% of their energy and time contemplating larger issues and expressing their concern and care toward the world at large, including welfare of communities, and happiness and peace for people around the world, especially women
One moment, in particular, that both saddened and touched Jaimala occurred while the women were discussing their needs. She wrote, “the women felt the need to discuss even ‘Chappal’ (flip-flops) as a major need! I may be wrong, but such thinking stems not only from physical and financial poverty, but from intellectual poverty as well. They have never been encouraged to think beyond the basics.” Luckily, this exercise was intended to do just that. And in the end, the artisans were able to contemplate their needs further than just the fundamentals. Overall, the workshop was able to provide good discussions, explorations, and reflections from all of the women.
I know that as these workshops continue, the Anchal artisans will be experiencing their own “lifestyle improvement!”