How a job at the handknitting hub changed Jamuna's life

Jamuna, aged in her late 20s, was too shy for even the most trivial-looking tasks when she started at the KOCO hand knitting hub in southern India.

One day I asked her to go to the post office. Later, Jamuna would describe the thoughts going through her head at the time.

“I’d never been there before and I wasn’t brave enough to say so,” Jamuna said.

Jamuna did not tell me of her fear because in the Indian culture it is often difficult for people to say ‘no’.

That trip to the post office started an interesting journey for Jamuna. Now she says: “I speak to the people at the post office and the shopkeeper. I can go up and speak to my child’s school teacher. Now I understand how my child is performing at school.”

Jamuna became a supervisor, organising the KOCO's human resources and payroll, translating patterns into English for other women and tracking the company’s freight.

KOCO’s garments are being hand-knitted in more and more Indian villages each month by women like Jamuna eager for a chance to earn an income and develop their skills and creativity.

Garments knitted by women like Jamuna are worn by fashionable buyers who understand they are wearing clothing produced entirely by one person in a fulfilling, empowering and nurturing place.

Jason Knight