Happy Expenses!

The women sit around in a circle – they look eagerly at Shivranjani, who begins the circle inviting everyone to share a moment of silence together. A sense of collective prevails, while everyone leaves their homes, its worries, unwashed uniforms and unpaid debts behind for a little while. Let’s talk about your “happy expense” says Shivaranjani – the circle bursts into smiles and the silence continues to prevail. Each woman is nudging another to share and finally Ila starts off by sharing that her happy expense for the month has been her buying her son, a birthday dress – a one 100% from her own income. The women enthusiastically clap as Ila quickly wipes away a tear that threatens to trickle down. The sharing and the clapping continue – happy expenses range from paying off a due to buying children something they liked. At the end of the day, a quiet Sulo shares, “a happy expense for me, will be a day when I can buy one of our bags!” That’s our story of #happyexpenses and the irony of the rural economy – that we have hundreds and thousands of artists, craftsmen and women creating products they can’t currently afford.

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