Jhoole Artisans in Maheshwar
Jhoole is a nonprofit Humanitarian Enterprise located in the weavers’ village of Maheshwar on the edge of the Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh, India. Jhoole has been collaborating with artisans to help them break the cycle of chronic poverty since 2008. Through achieving economic independence, sending their children to school, continuing their own education and giving back to social causes, Maheshwar artisans can create lasting change in their community.
Jhoole is currently working with over one hundred artisans; fifty who work centrally in Jhoole’s sewing production and training facility as well as hand loom weavers and hand embroiderers who work from within their own homes. By the end of this year, Jhoole will aspire to meet the following goals:
- employ two hundred artisans full time, providing them with a good living wage, family health insurance, and scholarships for their children
- train over five hundred women in garment production
- develop an educational program to help employees become agents of positive change in the Maheshwar community through Humanitarian Enterprise.
This year, including artisans and their families, Jhoole will have an impact on over two thousand people.
Jhoole is not only a self-sustaining, locally run social enterprise that will have a direct, long-term positive effect on the lives of employees, but also, a pioneering Humanitarian Enterprise, devoted to generating profits (what we like to call “Social Shares”) that are invested in nonprofit initiatives to help the Maheshwar community at large. Jhoole has already sponsored community programs including providing monthly living stipends, medicine and other necessities to twenty-five elderly women in need as well as running free computer workshops for disadvantaged girls.
In addition to continuing these ongoing programs, this year, our goal is to accrue Social Shares to invest in a year long, intensive program starting in 2015-2016 that will provide continued education to our employees. Ultimately, we want to prepare them to become stewards of Jhoole’s Social Shares: they will engage in our participatory Humanitarian Enterprise model by deciding where and how profits should be invested to provide the greatest social returns and meet the most pressing needs in the community. Most women employed by Jhoole had arranged marriages around the age of 15 and never finished their high school education. Jhoole wants to involve all our employees in a democratic process through the Humanitarian Enterprise model so that they can find innovative solutions to local challenges. We are developing a curriculum to help them hone traditional academic skills as well as engage in hands-on learning that promotes: systems thinking, consensus building, project planning and creative problem solving.