With this belief, Monk & Mei commenced a program that aimed to generate sustainable livelihood for people closer to their homes. Each end product that was up for sale had a story behind its making. The buyers got to know how her/his buying has led to creating an impact on the life of the producer of its garment as well as to the ecosystem of fashion/lifestyle thought of lending a hand to the undiscovered craftsmen of our country. As we charted into unheard territory with no basic ecosystem of apparel manufacturing, we have had a deep appreciation for everyone around us, and it is proof that kindness is in our DNA. During this course, we could see that these appreciations accelerated the inner transformation of the lives who got impacted by us, whether by working with us or buying our products.
Our journey of many triumphs and a few life-transforming trials is an example of a true determination of people who believed in themselves and their karmas. We kicked off our venture with a small set up with tribal and rural youth of Odisha in their State on the outskirts of in the city of Bhubaneshwar. To start, we had a few sewing machines, a few energetic men and women, and a lot of positivity. Our 100 Karigar setup became a destination for many eyes full of hope to learn and grow. Our guru-shishya programs helped train, employ, and ensure a sustainable livelihood for many by empowering them at the grassroots levels. We took mighty steps with large corporate dressing orders while bringing smiles on several faces by repaying the efforts done by them. With order serving an education community of 5000 students, we packed our bags on May 2, 2019, with all beautifully crafted uniforms packed to dress up the tiny tots bubbling with enthusiasm and energy in their new school.
As we came back on the morning of May 4th, with the setup roof blown away, there was not a single box of finished goods or raw material traceable with the entire setup submerged underwater. A storm that turned many lives upsides down, including ours. Cyclone Fani devastated many dreams and shattered many hearts. In a few hours, all we had, had gone. With massive losses, we had to close down our operations while shattering dreams of many Paris, Meenakshis, Sagaraikas....and we had to take a step back in our venture.
For a second, we thought it’s all over, but the #MonkInUs……told us to look at the brighter side of life as there is a sunrise after every sunset...