Lonand and Mhaswad are rustic villages in Western India about 160 kilometers from Mumbai, and home to some of the women who make our handmade products.
Small temples dot the landscape, their shikhar (steeple) painted in bright colors, arches welcome visitors to each village, sugarcane fields, bullock-carts and schoolgirls on their very long walk to school all distinguish the hilly and arid surroundings.
Several of our artisans are from the Manndeshi Foundation, an organization that promotes rural women empowerment and is headquartered in Mhaswad.
Our artisans’ stories never cease to amaze us. Noorjehan Tehsildar shares that she greatly enjoyed work at Ohrna and how it has been a transformational experience. “I love creative work, to learn new things. I want to do something, to become somebody. You come from so far to teach us, it feels very nice. I hope Ohrna grows, and I hope you can keep giving us work.” Her words are humbling and charmingly play up the culture of Ohrna, one that is of mutual appreciation.
Vinita, one of our artisans in Lonand village, was born in a typical rural family and her education ended after the 10th grade. She says “फुल नाही तर पाकळी सही” which means “even if it is just a petal and not the whole flower, it is mine. I have earned it and am proud of my accomplishment.” Vinita was excited to work with us not just for the money but also for the art. She felt she had become more courageous and confident, and learned the value of time. She also learned to be a perfectionist and loved making mats and runners. Her story of grit reflects the self-belief that Ohrna aims to create.
The voices of these women are in essence, what inspires us. Ohrna is the spirit of these women.They are our purpose.