Nepali Artisans Speak: Meet Maya
In Nepal, we partner with an Artisan Business that focuses on providing dignified work to people who have experienced or are vulnerable to exploitation. These Artisans utilize beautiful traditional textiles to create accessories our customers love. Today we’re introducing you to Maya, one of the skillful sewers who brings our Nepali Collection to life.
Maya works at our Artisan Partner Business as a seamstress, and has been employed there for two years. She recently won the Employee of the Month award for her outstanding work.
How did you feel when you found out that you won the Employee of the Month award?
I was nervous and happy at the same time. It made me realize, “Oh I am appreciated.”
We want to get to know you a little bit better. Can you tell us about your family?
To talk about my family, none of my family is educated, so it’s sad to me sometimes. My husband has never been to school. I was a little bit more privileged. That makes me really sad. I felt like to achieve something was really important for me. After I’ve come to this business, I’ve achieved many things. Before, I used to work as a day laborer carrying heavy materials at construction sites. I never had a chance to wear good clothes. My life was not that good. But after being a part of this workshop, I feel like I’m achieving something all the time. So the employee of the month award reminds me what my life was like before and how I am doing today. During the weekends I try to spend most of my time with my family. Before I used to spend a lot of time in the community going here and there, but now I don’t do that.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I had an arranged marriage and it was such a situation that I was married to a total stranger. I didn’t know him or what he was like or how he acts. I used to hear people say negative things about my husband. So that made me feel like oh, my husband does nothing, he is worthy of nothing. I never tried to respect him at the beginning of our marriage. Now after working my current job and learning about giving quality time to someone as a way to show love, it made me realize that I need to give time to my husband. I need to listen to him to learn about him. I realized I need to spend time with him and find out, are you this type of person that the community says about you or different. That’s the communication we do during my free time. I am the one who gets to understand my husband. This is why during my free time I go on walks around the botanical garden with my son and husband and try to listen to him and connect with him. I try to learn to give him more respect. Those are the things I’ve been working on since being here at this workshop.
What did you do before you worked at the Artisan Business?
I used to work as a laborer, carrying heavy loads. I used to carry heavy bricks that were heavier than my weight.
What is something fun or interesting you have done recently?
At my workplace, I am free, I dance and I enjoy life. Here I can be myself. This is where I have a lot of fun.
When have you been most satisfied in your life?
The most satisfied moment of my life was when I was selected at this business. I remember when I was in my training period, I used to think, “what if I’m not selected” and it made me nervous. I was scared that I would disappoint my mother-in-law and that I would let her down if I didn’t get the job. On the day when I was selected I was so happy.
What is different about this business from other places you have worked?
If I start comparing this workplace with other businesses, I feel like there is a drastic difference with the other businesses and with us. I have never seen someone with all the benefits I have right now, the health allowance, the school allowance, this is something that makes me feel like I’m being a good mother, someone who is taking care of my family. The food facilities that we are provided, it’s something extra from any other business. The most important difference though is here we don’t see the difference with the boss, we are equal, we are here working together. That is the main difference with this workplace.
What keeps you coming to work?
My job now has given me skills. I can’t guarantee if this business will be around forever or not, but the skills that this position gives me, that helps me learn. So in the future I feel that I can take care of my son. Those are the things that inspire me to come to work.
How have you changed as a person since working here?
If you ask what changes I have made as a person, it is uncountable. I have become a very different person. Since I started at this workplace, I as a mother have changed, I am able to provide for what my son has desired. As a mother I have been able to provide a good education to my son. I used to think that if I’m not able to provide education, or health care to my son, then I have to go and seek somebody’s help to sponsor him. Now I feel confident that I have sent my son to school, a Christian school. It’s one of the good schools in my area. The people in my community have seen how my life has transformed. I have received respect from those people. There are uncountable things. As a person I have changed and it’s all in good ways.
What have you learned from working at this Artisan Business that you would like to pass on to others?
People often ask me, “Where do you work?” What I say is I work inside a company where they provide me a fulfilled life, where they provide me with skillful training. So I work in a garment manufacturer where they don’t just provide me work but they help me too. They are there to empower us. I feel confident in saying those things. Now people don’t ask me where do you work, they know where I work and they see how my life has changed.
If you had to convince a friend to apply for this job, what would you tell them?
The most important thing that I would say is that we have a good environment here. An environment where we are treated equally, where the boss and the employee sit down together; eat at the same table, that kind of place. We are a family. Most of the time I don’t feel like I’m at work, I feel like I’m learning. I show my family what I’ve learned here. I tell them these are the things that I’m learning. That’s what’s different about this business, they give life-skills training, wellness training, literature training, different types of things. It’s not just work. It’s a different environment where people don’t feel like they are working, they are doing something for the society. On top of that, the company is doing so much training for our benefit. It’s a company that empowers. That’s how I tell people about our workplace.
What dreams do you have for the future?
My personal dream is for my family, I am a believer but I got married to an unbeliever. So my extended family doesn’t believe in Christ. My wish altogether is I want my husband and family to know Jesus. Another dream I have is I want to give a good education to my son. So in the future, where the community doesn’t respect my husband, they would know, this is his son. They would know it. They would respect my husband.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I wish and I pray a blessing towards this business that it will grow more in the future and that this company would provide and would empower more people like me. I do believe it is not just me who needed this job, there are more people in Nepal who are in critical condition and who desperately need work, who desperately need rescue. I pray that our workshop would grow in numbers so that it could help other women like me. Their life could change like my life has changed, people have been inspired by my life. I would love to keep inspiring people and that this company would keep inspiring more people.
We love partnering with amazing Nepali Artisans like Maya to help them build better lives for themselves and their families! Want to support Maya and her friends in the workshop? Shop our Nepal Collection.