During my last trip to India, I had a mother bring her daughter to me for counsel. Her daughter ( pictured below ) quit school to work in the field to earn a few extra bucks for the family. The family is quite sad about the circumstances but want the girl to get an education. They asked me if I could talk her into getting excited about school. I tried and failed miserably. I followed her to her place of employment and took some photographs while she did her shift in the cotton field. She told me she wanted to earn some money, save some and get married in the future. And continue working in the fields. She was 12 years old. She was convinced that nothing better can happen for her – ever ! And she is not the only child working on that field. Its quite common place. I left my village feeling deflated and guilty.
I am thankful for the circumstances that I currently have. I can make choices. I have stopped shopping in India. I can not trace back to how clothing is made if I like a garment in an Indian store. I think the farm workers get the worst end of the deal. I have seen the cramped quarters in which the tailors work. Embroidery workers work in cramped spaces with inadequate lighting – they develop a bad eye sight by the time they hit their 40s. The sparkle and the beads are often made of PVC. I can control nothing ! I often get laughed at and mocked for asking the questions. But I am glad that there are options for me in America. Brands like Everlane, Cuyana and some French/Italian/American fashion houses take pride in maintaining no abuse / high standards in their supply chain. Thank you.
Obama signed a bill that bans the import of goods made by children, abused women ( Bangladesh ), gold/diamonds mined by slaves in Africa, … Thank you Obama. You make a great leader and influencer. I am very interested in knowing how the Government figures out the filtering process. Will they enforce transparency laws ?As a consumer, I want to know more. Will the information that is available to the govt be available to the public ? I will write a follow up post when I learn more.