Button Up!

The usual well-oiled hair, flowers, pleated saris are all missing – messy buns, semi-done plaits, nighties and towels, tired faces at 8 AM. The women are back here after stitching until 8 PM the previous night, wrapping up dinner, managing to steal some sleep and finishing up morning chores, before coming back here.

There are 3 days to go for one of their biggest orders with a 1500/3000 pouches done. ‘Ma’am we have come up with a request’, says Sandhiya. I wonder, what the request might be, seeing the fatigue in their eyes. “Can we skip stitching buttons in the rest of the pouches?” she asks, mustering some courage.

“‘Ma’am we are yet to stitch buttons for 300 pouches from the first lot and have to start stitching the second batch from scratch. We have to trim and make sure it is neat and presentable as well. So we don’t think we’ll have time for doing all of this..” other pitched in. Some others shared that they are uncomfortable with half of the order going in with buttons and the other half without buttons – customer perception was brought up.

Slowly, an idea emerged – ‘ so many of our women ask us if they can join us… Why don’t we invite some of them over and give them an opportunity to stitch buttons, as we finish the stitching?’ Very quickly, it was acted upon. More hands pitched in; the idea of collective expanded; time seemed to expand and order seemed to have shrunk – it was doable and they did it, on time! #humansofkanavu #ruralindia #women #mothers #ruralentrepreneurship #collective #sura

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