Every graduation we have comes with stories from the sewing students about how they have overcome so much to learn to sew. I am always amazed and in awe of the resilience of women! These women are from village backgrounds and often travel up to 10 km/day to come to class in the 40+ temperatures. RESPECT!

Asmati (in yellow) and Ana at April 2017 Graduation

This, the moment my heart screams "YOU DID IT!" and I am sure I see colouful sparkles excitedly bouncing around her in sinc with my jumping heart. From out first meeting, her silence and firm hand shake gave it away. She's the strong silent type. Riddled with determination and courage. The one who many consider the least got top of her Holi Boli sewing class. Again, her hand shake spoke what her lips did not, a confident "Yes, I did it." She's an unknown queen. She's full of incredibleness. She's mostly invisible. Like millions of others, she's your voiceless Indian sister. She is what makes India beautiful. I see her. And she astounds me.

Graduation Celebrations

They often come in pairs, for their safety. Both in yellow, both ridiculously committed to earning the respect of their families and community. "I want to have my brother not look down on me any more." Determination was battered with a black eye for one week, but she picked herself up again and resumed sewing class. These teenage girls understand the importance of contributing to the family income: it helps to delay the inevitable being "married-off" (which they dread). These two dream of opening a ladies dressmaking shop together and cranking out new and cool designs. I don't think anything can stop them. They're incredibly resilient. They're not afraid of hard work. And they are now armed with Holi Boli sewing certificates and new found confidence. They have their life, their safety and self respect at stake. Like millions of others, these are your Indian sisters. Working tirelessly for their right to be.

Her family said she had to get married first. Then she had to produce a child. Then she had to wait till he was 3yrs old. Then she asked again, and finally they said 'yes' she was allowed to come to Holi Boli sewing classes. She's tiny. She's determined. She's patient. She's your Indian sister, like millions of others. Her choices are not hers alone. But this, she finally got. Certificate in hand, eyes wet, she says 'thank you'. To all of you who buy Holi Boli dresses; I pass her thanks on to you for helping fund her time at Holi Boli. Bless you.


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