Stories

Flowering Desert’s Impact

The Flowering Desert project set out to be transformational in the lives of the women who work there, so it is important to measure whether it is meeting its objectives. Here, a few of the artisans tell their own stories of their experience at Flowering Desert. We will be adding more stories, so do visit again : 

Poornima

When I got married, I moved in with my husband’s family, who found fault with absolutely everything. Their criticism of us got so bad that in the end we decided to move out and go it alone, which was a risky thing to do. The only place that would offer me a chance to work was the Flowering Desert production unit and I have been working there very happily since then. I’ve learnt so many new skills and love it that my work is appreciated. We have been able to build ourselves a small house. I feel so proud of all the new things I can do but the most surprising thing is that my in-laws are now really proud of all that we have achieved.

Viji Selva

I take three buses to get to the Flowering Desert Production Unit every day, but I don’t mind at all. As soon as I get there, I feel completely at peace – it feels like coming home to my mum.

I was widowed some years ago and now live with my two children at my mother and father-in-law’s home.

One of my dreams was always to be able to give my children a good education and the other was to sit in a big room working with textiles and jewellery – working at the Flowering Desert, I’m literally living my dream!

Vanitha (trainer and supervisor)

Our products are being exported! We feel so happy to know that people overseas are buying the things we make. When customers come and meet us and see what we look like, that also makes us happy as we can’t go and meet them in their countries. We also feel proud that we are making products that other factories aren’t making – everything we make is unique.

Many of the women who work at Flowering Desert tell us that at home there are lots of arguments and tension. The production unit is a place where they find peace, that they can escape to for a few hours each day.  We all love learning new skills.

Kannama 

I love my country but I hate all the bank holidays we have! On the days I can’t go to work, I miss my friends at the Flowering Desert Production Unit. I’m at my happiest and most relaxed when I’m there as we talk while we work and share all our problems.  For the last 9 years, I’ve been doing the final clean and polish on the jewellery and that’s what I like doing best.

Muthu Lakshmi

I married at the age of 12 but my first husband deserted me and I remarried at 19. Since I started working at Flowering Desert, I no longer dwell on my past. I have peace in my mind and I enjoy my work and the community I spend my time in.

Before working for Flowering Desert, my life was difficult – I had so much sorrow and always felt like I was carrying a heavy burden. I didn’t know how to carry on and felt very depressed. I used to work in the fields, in agricultural work, but found it very hard and the pay was very poor. Since joining Flowering Desert, I have grown in confidence and feel peaceful.

Poongodi

As quality control supervisor I earn a good income which enables me to support my teenage daughter’s higher education. It makes me happy to know she has a better future, since I am a widow. I am very pleased that here before we start and finish we pray together  – this gives peace of mind.