an initiative to empower women
Shubh Chopra moved to Dehradun from Delhi in 1988. She and her husband built their dream house in the village of Chandroti which is on the outskirts of the city, nestled in the foot hills of the Shivaliks. Shubh enjoyed knitting, a craft she learnt from her mother as a young girl growing up in Delhi. She made blankets, hats, scarves for her children and grandchildren. After she moved to Chandroti village, she started to teach a few village women how to knit just so that they could help her when she was knitting for her family and friends.
It slowly grew from there. As the demand for her knitted items grew, she brought more women into the fold. Today, in 2014, she has over 200 women from 5 villages working for her. She has women now coming from Roorkee which is 80 km away. Most of these women are very poor, illiterate and have never worked before. Under Shubhs precise supervision they are now creating throw blankets, hats, scarves, jackets, footsies, hot water bottle covers etc., which are being sold in India, Australia and the US. What started as a simple past time has grown into a livelihood for over a 200 families.
The ladies who work for Chandroti range in age from 15 to 75. They are Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians. They work in harmony and are there for each other through joy and sorrow. They don't have any caste differentiations. They come from as far as Roorkee, 90 km away, Mussoorie, 50 km away and villages around Dehra-Dun.
They are mostly illiterate and very poor. The money they earn at Chandroti gives them the dignity they probably never had before.
They are providing for their families. Their daughters are going to school. Their husbands are treating them with respect.