How KOCO 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 handknitting hub in southern India.

One day I asked her to go to the post office. Later, Jamuna described 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’ to a request.

That trip to the post office started an exciting journey for Jamuna. At the KOCO handknitting hubs personal development grows alongside the formal training we provide. Communication, time management, and empowerment are evolving in the workplace and making a difference to communities where our hubs are based.

Now she says: “I feel I can speak to the people at the post office and the shopkeeper. I can go up and speak to my child’s school teacher because I have a voice. Now I understand how my child is performing at school. I understand how important it is to communicate for myself and not always let others do the talking for me.”

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 handknitted 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. Their personal growth is a natural consequence of working with like-minded, supportive women.

Garments knitted by women like Jamuna are worn by buyers who understand they are wearing clothing produced entirely by one person in a fulfilling, empowering and nurturing place. This knowledge brings a new definition to the term 'good value'.

Jason Knight