Words Naqiya Y.
Photograph Sakina K.
Naqiya ben is a British born self confessed junkie of contemporary design and witty one liners. Alumni, Jamea Saifiyah. Founder, Random in Tandem.
Stories come in many avatars. Some pike interest, some inspire. Some resonate and some – the most special ones, stir hearts and hands into movement with such force that the story takes on a whole new life of its own.
Earlier this year, the culmination of several such stories like this, shared by women hailing from villages of rural India with Maula TUS and his family during Maula’s TUS travels to the far flung homes of his followers, led to the birth of an organisation called HAPPY THREADS. The women encountered here led gut-wrenching lives but had amazing spirits. They carried the burden of debt, the weight of hungry bellies to feed, and the weary task of making ends meet. As each tale of hardship was narrated, Maula – visible moved – uttered a wish that formed the mission statement of Happy Threads: to lift these women from economic returns of 100/- a day to 500/- a day.
As a movement was formed to realise this wish, a discovery was made into the vast repertoire of skills and talents that these women had. A common thread between them, regardless of age, class or geography was the ability to create magic with a simple needle and a ball of yarn. Under the tutelage of a creative core team, through the beautiful craft of crochet, they began to recreate any image shown to them. From kids’ hair accessories, to emoticon bookmarks to minion key chains and car toys, they were on a roll. A team was set up, with members of Qasre Aali, Muntasebaat ul Jamea and volunteers from tech and logistic backgrounds to help take their products to an international market. To their amazement, and to all those who supported them, a Western market opened up for them and soon their struggle was not a solitary one but one which caught the imagination of a worldwide community. Shipped to craft fairs across the US to places like Florida and California, other women began connecting with their story and soon it became the story of celebrating the spirit of womanhood. The story of fortitude, of perseverance, of skill and of success.
The story of fortitude, of perseverance, of skill and of success.
The facts and figures of this story are remarkable, if not a miracle. In the space of less than six months, over 4500 women have found employment and increased their daily earning from an average $1 a day to $10 a day. With headquarters in Surat and Mumbai, the branch centres where today’s highest concentration of products come from are Ratlam, Dohad, Nalasupara, Shirpur, Jamnagar and Pune. Internationally too, women are participating from Madagascar, Kuwait, Muscat, Bakersfield and Leicester. All merchandise is sent to Surat and follows strict quality control guidelines before being packed professionally and sent off to international markets. An active Instagram and Facebook page keeps admirers and customers up to date and the products are even live on Etsy (links are down below).
The stories of these women today speak one voice as they unite to share their craft with the world in the hope that in turn they can change the course of the hardship that is their reality. Through Maula’s one vision so much has been achieved. A source of income opened up for women, an outlet was found for the preservation of art. The future holds more hopes for tutoring these women in financial discipline, aiding them with medical benefits, creating leadership programs within them and much more. Whilst interviewing one Bhensaheba who leads the team on how her experience has been in helping this movement get off the ground, she replied very softly..’You know as a child how you always wanted to save the world? Well here we get a chance to be a little part of that reality.’
You can check out their Etsy Shop right here: https://www.etsy.com/people/HappyThreadsBySmoms
Do follow their:
Instagram @ https://www.instagram.com/happythreadsbysupermoms/
Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/happythreadsbysupermoms/