Ohrna is a story about people through products.
Many of our women partners are also farmers and feel a real connect with mother earth. Sharing not just work but also experiences and meals have created numerous bonding moments and motivation for us all.
Seema Chavan feels, “there should be more to life than just school, getting married, having children and then going away from this world– is this all what life is about?” Her deep desire to do something for herself as well as women like her led her on a search for work to the Manndeshi Foundation, which then connected her to Ohrna. “In life, we may have less, but it should be satisfying”, she says.
One of the defining moments of her 36 year life has been the day her painstakingly handcrafted gift card pouches were bought by a customer in New Hampshire. Born and raised in a small village four hours from Mumbai, Poonam had never heard of New Hampshire. But the purchase unlocked for her an opportunity of which she had only dreamt till now - the ability to create something with her own hands that can open doors and empower her financially. “After seeing the global world through Ohrna, I feel awakened”, she says. She expects that Ohrna will create the opportunity for her to train more women who will then be able to earn, and the art too will stay alive.
Jyoti our studio assistant in Pune, was once terrified to even hold a scissor. She later could confidently cut fabric. Though she could not read or write, she communicated our making instructions by drawing the information on the village kits to replace written instructions. This gave her immense joy, while also empowering those like her who could not read. Jyoti soon became her family’s main breadwinner.
In extraordinary efforts towards empowerment, all our makers - the women artisans, strive hard for perfection amidst greatly adverse circumstances.
We are ever inspired and enriched by them and their work!