Balance for Better

International Women's Day, social enterprise, women's empowerment

balance for better

Friday 9th March is International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to celebrating the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women around the world. This year the theme is ‘Balance for Better’, a year long pursuit of creating a gender-balanced world.

AMMA team, mothers, artisans, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

I find it an honour to take part in International Women's Day, as I have always been inspired by the posts I have read about great organisations helping women to shine. For AMMA, this is the first year that we have proven what we always felt to be true... that the women we employ and work with a resourceful, talented, resilient and full of love and kindness. So, here we are, marking the occasion, and be sure to sign up to our newsletter and follow our posts on Instagram for more photos and updates Women’s Day related.

One of our makers, pinning up pattern pieces in our workshop

In the last two weeks we have transitioned to working full time (9.00am - 4.30pm) this has meant that the women have had the option to earn double there previous salary. All but one has taken the opportunity, each for different reasons but all money related. We have a woman who wants to build a house, another whose husband has been forced to stop working and another two whose families rely heavily on their income. This change provoked a conversation with a funding partner about the incredible tenacity, strength and commitment shown by these women. Not only do they work full-time but they have to balance running the household alongside it. Looking after the children, cooking for every meal, cleaning, grocery shopping and cultural events could easily fill a woman’s time. In the wet climate that we live in, simply washing and drying clothes by hand is a tedious task.

AMMA team eating lunch and enjoying time together at the workshop

This shift in work schedule has also created a fresh balance within families. We have seen husbands take up more responsibility with the childcare. Picking up their sons or daughters from pre-school during lunch breaks and dropping them at relatives for a couple of hours until mum is finished at work. The increase in pay has meant greater control of finances shifting to the women, all who have now opened savings accounts.

Alongside these gender related balances its been a huge joy to witness the smaller triumphs that often go unnoticed, like how the older women accompany the younger ones home ensuring they arrive safely and those that suffer from mental illness speaking out about their feelings during life skills class.

In the last few weeks we’ve witnessed a great confidence in tackling the creative tasks in the workshop, 18-year-old Rumana designing five quilts for an Australian order and getting incredible feedback and follow up orders via social media. Kogila bursting with happiness when she was told that people in Colombo loved the skirt she had made, her efforts paying off. 19-year-old Sheromi, developing embroidery designs for a commission from London. These women are taking control of the tasks at hand, they are stepping up, working hard and are catching the long term vision of AMMA.

Three women creating in our workshop in Nuwara Eliya, pinning garments and cutting pattern pieces

I love that I get to work with this team of women each day along with some fantastic women empowering men that are constant champions of AMMA and bring clarity and skills in a welcome contrast that only makes AMMA even more beautiful.

I also must mention that the incredible photos used in this blog post were taken by Megan Brown on her film camera. I am besotted by the first image of Rosie, Rumana and Sheromi. You can find more of her work on Instagram or on her website here .

Josie x