Our founder, Asha Chaudhary, and her father, N. K. Chaudhary built a 50-year partnership with the hand-weavers of India. In the late 1970’s N. K. transformed the high-end rug industry with a revolutionary vision: to eliminate the middleman and be the direct link between the maker and market for handmade rugs. Today at Enkay, we continue his vision with a network of over 40,000 world class Indian artisans - primarily women.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we have chosen to highlight two of our artisans’ stories. They create hand-knotted wool rugs right in their own homes and villages. Through these stories, we hope you feel a stronger connection between our handmade rugs and the talented women who make them.
Today, we introduce Uganta and Durga.
“She is the Goddess of Wealth in the Family”
Meet Uganta. Uganta lives in the village of Ajabgarh in Northwest India. A mother to three children, she loves the peace that mornings bring and cooking dal batti for her family. She originally learned weaving from her mother when she was very young, and has created handmade rugs for Enkay for the last 4 years.
When her husband worked as a day laborer, he fell ill often, and they faced inconsistent income and uncertainty. Now with a steady opportunity to weave, Uganta has been able to build two rooms for her family to live in and see all of her children enrolled in school. She credits her children for teaching her about the solar system, and notes that the best part of her day is talking with them after they return from school.
Uganta is proud to be the breadwinner in her family. She believes that, “If a woman wants, she can do anything in the world.” She credits the reliable payments and deliveries of supplies to her doorstep for her success, while her husband simply states with admiration that, “She is the goddess of wealth in the family.”
“Everyone Has Aspirations”
Meet Durga. Durga lives just an hour and a half west of Uganta, in the village of Manpura. She is among a community of weavers that has existed in Manpura since 1969, and is one of the leading women to revitalize the strong reputation of high-end rugs made there. She has one daughter and lives with her in-laws, and they love eating street food as a family. Like Uganta, weaving is a skill she learned at a young age from her mother. She has made rugs for Enkay for over five years.
Durga notes that she has no formal education, but feels great pride in being able to provide her daughter with an education. She enjoys being able to save money from her work, and go shopping for household items with ease. As the financial provider for her whole family, Durga weaves her rugs in the early morning and enjoys the peace that time of day brings to her.
Although she references financial hardship in the past, Durga speaks with a confident resilience that is hard to ignore. Her motto in life is, “Everyone has aspirations, and society shall not kill those aspirations''.