Aarati was married when she was just 16. When she should have been studying, going to movies, hanging out with friends and exploring the world, she was blowing air into an open fire through a pipe 3 times a day to cook meals for her new family of 7. Her ambitions of being a doctor was a lost dream now. Her distant dream of flying in an airplane - which she wished for every time she saw one pass over her head - had now turned into something she felt stupid even wishing for. The men in the family earned just enough to put food on the table. Hobbies and dreams were a luxury they were never introduced to. At an age when a girl should be shortlisting universities, she was looking after her newborn daughter.
As time went on, things did not feel as hard, they didn’t get any better, but in her head everything was almost robotic. It was her life but she felt more like a puppet for whom options were non-existent. Options and opportunities were another luxury she and her family had never tasted. She would see her daughter looking at the planes fly above with a sparkle in her eye - similar to what she had. Her shattered dreams didn’t hurt as much now. She knew soon her daughter would be old enough to be married and that the vicious cycle would continue.
We were sad to know that Aarti’s dream of flying in an airplane was never fulfilled.
There are millions of women from marginalized communities living life in Aarati’s shoe’s today. They come from communities where wish, desire and effort are not enough ingredients to empower women socially and economically. Whenever a discussion about Women Empowerment comes up, everyone is sure to mention Kamala Harris, Oprah Winfrey and others who have made a name for themselves. And sure these are names to be cherished, but these success stories tend to shadow the realities that millions of women, from marginalized communities face everyday. While we cheer for a woman on the podium, we forget about the hundreds of thousands that are left behind.
This is where our partners like WHE by Ariba come in and provide a platform for these women to learn, network, build skills and earn. To us this might seem just like any other opportunity for social inclusion and upward mobility, but for women like Aarati, it might be the most rewarding and groundbreaking opportunity ever to come by.
For someone who has abandoned and suppressed their dreams all their life, who believed they were insignificant in the grand scheme of things for anything out of the ordinary to happen to them, hope is the best you can give them. Our partners at WHE by Ariba provide an all women platform where they help women resurrect their lost confidence by building their own network, owning up projects and educating them about the business environment. They also make sure to educate women about the importance of personal finance, education of their children and other paradigms of life which might come intuitively to us, but is a new realm for them.
Along with this, WHE by Ariba also promotes a sustainable lifestyle by making sure all their products are eco-friendly and handmade with little to no use of machinery. They are design-driven, ethical fashion accessory and decor brand experimenting with raw materials that are eco-friendly to be more sustainable.
We at Bit of Meraki are always on the lookout for partners who share a common vision of Women Empowerment and Sustainability. WHE by Ariba’s actions don’t just fit perfectly with the vision we share, but we get to learn so much from them everyday. We hope they grow exponentially to help as many women as they can and promise to support them in every way possible because we know the fight is long and the longest of battles are the ones which bring impact.