Jaipur Living Empowering Women

Jaipur Living: Empowering Women & Changing Lives

Some people measure success in units sold, in hard numbers, in money made. N.K. Chaudhary finds success in the lives he touches and the difference he makes in impoverished communities. As the founder of Jaipur Living, Chaudhary has helped pull countless people, particularly women, from the depths of unemployment and despair. Sure, he sells beautiful rugs and runs a successful business, but his legacy is about people – people such as Suman Devi.

Suman Devi from Jaipur Living

We have often heard that behind every successful man there is a woman. But Suman Devi, a young, shy woman from Dhanota Village of Rajasthan in India, has a different story to tell. Being brought up behind the limits of her fears and anxieties, she was always hesitant to speak and never took up the courage in life to do what she wanted. At the age of 16, she learned the art of weaving and began working for a loom center through which she got the opportunity to weave carpets from home. However, fate had something great in store for her. She got married into a family who helped her to come out of her shell and motivated her to work after marriage, something of a rarity in rural India.

Jaipur Living Designer Rugs

Six years ago, she started weaving carpets for Jaipur Rugs, but at that point, it was only a job, only a way to help pay the bills. One day, Jaipur Rugs Foundation provided her with the opportunity to attend training under the “Young Women Entrepreneurship Development Programme.” There she got to know the significance of working as an owner, and it proved to be a turning point in her life. Since then she changed her way of looking at things and her work. She started weaving not as a mere worker but like the owner of the carpet. Her zeal for hard work acclaimed her the praise of fellow weavers, Quality Supervisors, and other senior workers alike. For this reason, she was then selected to be a Bunkar Sakhi (Weaver’s Friend), who would act as a leader turned companion to other women weavers. While she was dubious of traveling to other villages, the never-ending support of her husband and her family gave her the courage to say yes to the opportunity.

Jaipur Suman Devi Preparing Food

Suman Devi, now 28, not only wants to see herself as bringing transformation in others' lives but also aspires to work as a quality supervisor in the future.

“Earlier I was a housewife, just taking care of household chores and my children,” she said, “but today, I have my own identity. Earlier, I was scared to step out of my home and was not able to talk to anyone as I was always worried about saying something wrong. But today, without any fear I can talk to anyone openly – I am not scared anymore.”

Now, she confidently manages 90 weavers at 34 looms spanning three villages and leads the way to a positive change in other women weavers of Jaipur Rugs. Devi encourages them to take ownership of their work to accomplish happiness that cannot be measured in terms of money. She gives full credit for her success to her family and feels proud of her supportive husband who works with the company too.

“We are glad to know that the rugs we weave with our hands are so valued,” Devi said. “My dreams are woven in every knot of a rug.”

Jaipur Suman Devi with Family

Devi’s story, her life, is just one of many that turned with the help of N.K. Chaudhary. A man of means in India, he spurned a life in the higher rungs of India’s caste system, instead choosing to help build his own system of success based on hard work and the talents of people who need help the most. As the father of daughters, he concentrated many of his efforts on helping India’s women. He found that rug weaving didn’t require great infrastructure, nor did it depend on seasonality like much of the farming in rural India. Rug weaving is a trade that women can use their entire lives, allowing them some independence. Suman Devi would agree. And so will the women she mentors.

“People have the right to fulfill their innate potential,” Chaudhary said, “no matter what circumstances they have born into.”

Editorial Credit: Suman Devi and Dishka Gaur

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Doug Kaid

Doug Kaid has been employed as professional writer/reporter/editor since 2000, a remarkable feat if he does say so himself. And he does. All the time. In his spare time, Doug spends way too much time thinking of plays on words.