Two cool things happened this week that I wanted to share. First, I used a jackhammer at my power tools training. Yes, I signed up for a power tools training. I know, I know. Who do I think I am? But they offer so much cool training here, I figured I should start signing up for some, and I’ve made it a personal goal to sign up for the stuff I would be the absolute worst at in real life. So yes, power tools made that list. But now I have sawed with some sort of scary electric saw and used a Jackhammer. In heels.
Anyways, that was cool thing number one. Cool thing number two is even better. I got to go out with our Public Affairs officer to do some grant monitoring. We had given out some grants to an organization that helps women entrepreneurs, and needed to do some follow-up to see what they were doing. It was awesome! I met some women with what they call “micro-level” businesses who do tailoring and sewing from their homes. I also met a women who was moving her business (felt and handbags) from a micro-level to a small level, and see some of the things she was making that helped her move from micro to small – mostly shopping bags (the nice, reusable kind) and tote bags for local businesses, NGO’s, and schools. She was also trying to work on some of her own designs.
Then I got to meet Sabita, who started her knitting business in 2010 with 8 employees. She now employs at least 125 people, sometimes as many as 300 when she has lots of orders. She knits beautiful sweaters for a major US/UK retailer, and designs other things to sell at a local level – I saw women knitting gloves and finishing some trekking pants in her shop. It was so cool to see someone who was moving from a small business to a medium business, and who was responsible for so many other people’s employment. Super inspiring! Seriously, an amazing person who has overcome a ton of obstacles. It is difficult for a women to own and operate a business in Nepal, which is one of the reasons so many organizations are focused on helping specifically women entrepreneurs.
And then, while we were looking at some of her other products, I saw THIS:
Yes, that is a glorious sheep hat, hand knitted and designed by Sabita – who kindly agreed to take a picture with me. It even has a tail!!!! Best. Hat. Ever. If you are like me, then you have at least one friend who is super obsessed with sheep. I knew I had to have one. I asked Sabita where I could buy it on the local market, but she was willing to sell me one from her workshop. So, Sarah, if you are reading this, there is an amazingly warm sheep hat heading your way.
My job is cool.