Reflections on India
It was hard to imagine what sort of impact my first trip to India would have on me, a 16 year-old high school student from the United States. I traveled there earlier this year with a team from PYXERA Global, a Washington DC-based nonprofit, to visit development projects in the northern region of the country. Over the course of eight days, we visited the hectic city of Mumbai, rural farms and villages at the height of the dry season near Udaipur, the historic and exotic city of Jaipur, and the country’s bustling capital, New Delhi.
India is the world’s second most populous country with over 1.2 billion residents, almost 300 million of whom live on less than two dollars a day. Contemplate that for a minute. That’s like having almost the entire population of the United States living on the equivalent of a candy bar per day!
Throughout my travels, I was particularly struck by three foreign concepts associated with how Indian society deals with complex social and economic issues.
Empathy and Empowerment: Employing Over 40,000 Rural Women
NK Chaudhary, the founder of Jaipur Rugs, had a vision 40 years ago to bring employment and a better life to women living in rural villages across India. Jaipur Rugs sells rugs made by over 40,000 weavers in more than 600 villages. The company focuses on a socio-economic business model, providing communities of women with much needed income, independence, and better healthcare. Over one million lives have been positively impacted by this unique company that sells its rugs, made with love, all over the world. The company is built on a foundation of values most Americans crave to see in the modern corporate world: respect and compassion for its workers.