This post is by Rang De’s Chief Financial Officer Soumya Jayaram who just came back from her first field visit to Manipur.

Manipur is blessed with natural beauty and grace much like the rest of North East India. The population is highly literate but has limited employment opportunities within the state. Interest in traditional hill farming and weaving is waning amongst the younger generation because profitability remains low. Most of the mothers (Rang De borrowers) I interacted with over the course of my three day visit had similar dreams for their children, that they study hard, become doctors, nurses, IAS officers. In the face of such challenges, the work that organizations like SEVA Manipur (Self Employed Voluntary Association) are doing to promote sustainable livelihoods and mentor weavers and rural entrepreneurs becomes doubly important.

Presented here in the slideshow are a few stories of Rang De’s borrowers that I met. I came away with feelings of camaraderie and respect for these highly capable, artistic women who continue to have big hopes for their children’s future despite their daunting circumstances.