Traditional nomad women have hard lives. The generation of women now in their sixties typically bore a dozen children, many having experienced the loss of several due to harsh conditions. Life was a struggle of never ending chores in freezing temperatures and outdoor blizzards, driving animals to pastures for grazing, guarding them against wolves or rescuing them from the blinding menace of fog.
Today, Norlha’s atelier walls are filled with the early morning bustle of greetings and laughter as artisans settle into their work stations. After ten years of struggle with the fast paced world of fashion, Norlha is able to commit to an employee base of over 120 artisans. 65% of these are women, their ages ranging from 19 to 65, with the average being 38 years old. For the first time in these women’s lives, their existence on the plateau is no longer a struggle. They can work in heated workrooms, their meals provided for. At 5:30 in the evening they return to their homes and spend time with their children and aging parents. Today, these women have become providers for their families thanks to the steady cash flow from their salaries.
In 2016, Norlha ventured deeper into helping women through the formation of the club S.E.W.N (Strength and Empowerment for Women of Norlha). Club S.E.W.N includes daily yoga classes, a women’s basketball team, English classes, Saturday night dinners with games, music, singing and dancing. Today, while we have ten committed members, others come and join various activities when time allows. Club S.E.W.N has allowed our women to gain confidence and their place in a world where it is not always easy to be a woman.
Happy Women’s day!