Ambition often seeps into the eyes of people, when they talk about a topic they are passionate about. Their stories aren't all rosy, and are filled with setbacks and challenges. However, these are battles won in their chosen journey, making the victory even sweeter. This is what you see and feel when you meet the Kacchi Rabari artisan-Monghi Ben. Confident, smart and wise beyond her years, she has focus and a clear direction of where she wishes to be.
Q. When did you start learning embroidery work?
I started in 2008, while I was at home. I learnt it from the elder women in the family.
Q. Tell us about your journey.
In 2009, I went to the Kala Raksha Mela. (Kala Raksha is an NGO which works with artisans in Kutch). There for the first time in my life, I saw a fashion show. I was very impressed. That was the day, I told my friends who had come along with me that, I will join this place next year. Which is exactly what I did in 2010.
When I joined Kala Raksha Vidyalaya, I did not know mirror work and many other things. But I learnt the ropes with time and at the end of the year made my own collection on the theme, "Moon Night." Later, I helped in designing many products. But, I felt that I can design, do everything and want to see my name somewhere too.
In my village earlier, earlier there would be 80 artisans, if someone wanted work. But now, the number would be just 3! All of them have joined companies. They pay more and offer a stable future. I wish to change that, preserve my historic craft and help by teaching other women too.
Thank you Monghi Ben. You are amazing :)
*This interview was taken more than a year ago. Monghi ben now works with Ruas and has her own label too*