In Hindi, the word Dekko is a direction to look or take a look. This business name was chosen to ask people to not only take a look at their beautiful products, but to also take a look at the people behind them. At first glance, women in long saris and covered heads or black burqas may seem different or unapproachable. But under those mysterious exteriors are beautiful and kind women longing to be known, challenged, championed, and appreciated. Marred by hard lives—whether poverty, lack of healthcare or education—they struggle to care for their families. They are gifted women in handiwork, house work, and hospitality, but can struggle with the pressures of life and lack of opportunity. They want to give their children a better life but don’t see a way to make that possible. Our desire is to see dignity restored to these individuals and poverty alleviated.
In the local cultural setting, it is difficult for women to work outside of their homes. Many of them rely on their husbands or brothers to do the daily shopping required and couldn’t imagine leaving their homes to work outside. Because we provide work for these women to do in their homes, it is an opportunity not otherwise available to them to be trained and to work for fair wages. We encourage our artisans to work as a family as closely together as possible. Some of our artisan families are really thriving with this concept. For example, the husband of one of our sewing hub ladies is very involved in his wife’s work. We also see her helping him with his gemstone work. We love this value of partnership and mutual appreciation in a marriage. The children get to see their parents working in a partnership that’s mutually beneficial which makes a tremendous impact on their children.
Another of our company’s values is education for our artisans’ children. Most of our workers are not able to read or write, but they want to make a better life for their children. We believe that education is one of the keys to breaking the cycle of poverty. The children in our Student Success Program receive monthly assistance with their school fees. We check on the students each month to see how their education is going, also their health and nutrition (including providing regular treatment for parasitic illnesses so common in India). Often we provide books or educational toys to our workers’ children. We also work on getting our workers’ children to historic sites in town, like the zoo, science park, forts, etc, to broaden their horizons and show them that the world is much bigger than they may think!