This Mother’s Day, we’re celebrating all the hard-working women who are using their artisanal skills to build better futures for their children.
95% of MADE51 artisans are women, most of whom are mothers. Through countless conversations and interviews with artisans, we notice a striking similarity amongst their stories: for artisan mothers, providing a better life for their children is their driving force. We’re proud to share some of these stories of devoted mothers who use their skills to earn income they need to feed their children, buy them clothing and send them to school. These women are inspirational and deserve to be celebrated every day.
Gauhar, widow and a mother of fifteen from Afghanistan
Gauhar’s husband died in Afghanistan leaving with her fifteen children, eight of her own, and seven step-children. Gauhar made her way to India as a refugee with all the fifteen of them in 2017.
Traditional skills like stitching, sewing and embroidery came in handy to Gauhar in finding employment with our partner SilaiWali in Delhi. Far away from home, and with no prospect of ever returning, Gauhar found community amongst fellow refugee women - and an essential way to support those of her children that still depend on her.
Ziwar, one of her daughters, attends to an English language school and an art & craft centre for refugees in Delhi. Since she turned 18, Ziwar also comes to the Silaiwali centre occasionally to earn a part-time income doing embroidery work. She wants to finish her education cut short due to her forced displacement from Afghanistan.
Maral, highly skilled artisan and source of inspiration for three children
[Maral in her creative process. Photo Credit: MADE51]
Maral is a master artisan specializing in Armenian embroidery, felting, knitting and sewing. She is also one of over 22,000 Syrian citizens of Armenian descent who have found refuge in Armenia since conflict broke out in Syria.
"All my family members were devastated when the war happened in Syria. We moved back to Armenia to start our life with a new chapter. Yes it was really difficult for all of us. Our life was in Aleppo and all we had was left there. As we moved to Armenia, I was seeking good job opportunities to support my family financially. I learn embroidery techniques from my grandmother and that's how I started to make handicrafts and make profit out of my hobby.”
Maral more than excelled at turning her passion for craft into a livelihood. In 2017 she was awarded ‘Best woman entrepreneur’ by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia and received national master diploma by the Ministry of Culture. She is also the leader of the artisan group that works on MADE51 products with HDIF, a local social enterprise in Armenia.
Speaking of her children, Maral is deeply hopeful that she has create opportunity and inspiration for them.
“I wish my children could grow up in peace and harmony. They saw war and it has impacted on each of us. I don't want them feel that they don't belong in here. I want them to think that they're worth it. Their hard work, intelligence would be appreciated anywhere. I would love to be a source of inspiration for them. So they could be inspired from me as well.
These simple things are what I appreciate in my life. I don't want anything extraordinary. I just want to see them happy and healthy with their own families. I want to have a lot of grandchildren. That's what would make me feel the happiest."
Solange, a mother who finds happiness in her daughter’s dream
[Solange with her daughter. Photo Credit: RefuSHE]
Solange, is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo but was forced to flee conflict in 2015. She found safety in Kenya and soon after joined RefuShe, our partner in Nairobi, where artisan work helps her support herself and her daughter.
Solange is a mother of one, a vibrant 7-year-old girl who has big dreams. “I want my daughter to accomplish her dreams,” Solange said. “She has always stated that she wants to be a pilot and I believe she will be one in the future as she studies hard and has never failed a Mathematics class. Math is her favorite subject!”
Solange acknowledges that supporting her child is difficult but her love for her child motivates her to overcome the challenges. “It might be difficult to pay school fees at times, but as a mother, I put in a lot of effort, especially when I have a child who depends on me.”
Susan, a mother whose life goal is built upon her children’s secured future
[Susan and her family at home in Kalobeyei settlement camp. Photo Credit: UNHCR]
Susan, a South Sudanese refugee, is a mother of eight: Joyce, Diana, Margret, Arkanjello, Iduho, Albino, Robert and the last-born Bismack. Susan’s specialty is beadwork and hand weaving. Seeing that the job can support her family, she has been doing it for almost 15 years.
Susan’s hard work has always been dedicated to her children.
“Since I started this job, I have seen that it has supported me and my family. I can change their diet, I am able to buy soap for washing their clothes, I am also able to buy books and school materials for my children. That is the way this work has assisted me and how I depend on it.”
Her visions, the plans she makes, the motivations she has, her optimism towards life – all have always revolved around the sake of her loving children. Susan left South Sudan for Kenya mainly to offer her children a livable environment.
“The time I left South Sudan, there was no peace in South Sudan, there was war. I then decided to bring my children to Kenya for safety and for them to be able to go to school. That was the reason why we came here.”
She expresses the insatiable aspiration to have her children pursue higher education and, at the same time, to be as present for them as possible.
“When I receive good money, I will take my children to better schools and I can set up my shop at home so that when my children come back from school, they will be able to find me at home.”