The awe-inspiring story of Pabiben : The woman who went from fetching water at just Re 1 to becoming a successful entreprenuer
Pabiben was born in a small village in the Indian state of Gujarat where women weren’t even allowed to go outside their homes, let alone pursue dreams of education and a career. As a young girl, Pabiben used to fetch water for the villagers for a measly amount of Re 1 to support her mother who was a young widow raising three daughters.
Now Pabiben had always been good with needle and threads and she learned the art of traditional Rabari embroidery from her mother.
It was a custom in the community where women would take embroidered pieces as dowry to the homes of their husbands. So girls stayed back at their parental homes to finish those pieces. When the village elders realized that this was leading to late marriages, they banned embroidery for personal use.
Although the move seemed to ease off the burden on young girls, Pabiben felt that the ban would adversely affect the community and its chance to display its craft.
To keep the Rabari tradition alive, she mobilized women in the community and invented a new art form with the machine application of ready-made elements, known as ‘Hari Jari’.
The embroidery soon became popular with the moniker ‘Pabi Jari’ and the first accessory she made out of it was a sample shopping bag. An instant hit, it was christened the ‘Pabi Bag’!
Her husband was a steady supporter of her dreams from the start. With his help, she became the first woman from her community to launch the online e-commerce platform, Pabiben.com.
Today, Pabiben sells a range of products from purses and bags to quilts and cushion covers. Her designs have crossed the borders of Kutch, Gujarat, to be featured in Bollywood and Hollywood films, with customers from around the globe!
Read more abut her journey here: https://www.thebetterindia.com/164763/kutch-pabiben-rebari-pabi-jari-embroidery/