We recently highlighted Baphi's story on an Instagram post. We wanted to tell her story because at Muezart we believe in the transformational power of meaningful work. We’re thrilled to tell you that Muezart impacts young women who are a part of our in-house studio. To name a few of them: Baphi, Rida and Hep. If you sat down and had a cup of tea with them they would tell you about experiencing transformation through work. They would tell you how working in a purpose-driven company is different from any work they have done before. Here's a glimpse of Baphi's life in Muezart.
I hope you got to read Rida’s story. We now bring you Baphi’s story. Come with us to our Muezart studio – in the beautiful city of Shillong, in the state of Meghalaya, in the Northeast part of India.
Here is Baphi - Collecting Ingredients for Natural Dyeing
The journey from the time she was searching for a job to help support her family, to now, when she speaks with confidence of how she is contributing to Muezart, has not been that long, but has been transformational.
The Impossible Suddenly Became a Reality
Baphi kharkongor grew up in Mawpat, a village in East Khasi Hills District of the state of Meghalaya. Not far from Shillong, the capital city. Mawpat nestles on a mountain and from here we can see almost all the city of Shillong.
Baphi never imagined that she would, one day, find a regular job, that too in a private company. Why? Because such opportunities are very few in this region.
Guess what? Baphi found a job with a private company, a job she loves - where work does not seem like a chore. Baphi joined Muezart in March 2019. Let us find out how she came to Muezart and what it means for her. Baphi was generous in sharing her life with us.
Like any village in Meghalaya, Mawpat too has an agrarian community. Natural beauty abounds in that area. The main produce grown in this village is corn, radish, capsicum, and sweet potato. In fact, the sweet potato from Mawpat is sought after.
Her days would go something like this - waking up early morning, helping her mom with cooking for lunch and packing lunch for siblings, cleaning the house and getting ready for school.
The fun part was playing with her friends once she was back from school - Marbles, Maw Kynting (tossing rocks) and Sohtyngkoh.
“My dad is a choir leader he used to teach us how to sing and play the guitar and I used to sing with my brother in church, and on the radio. During Christmas, my siblings and I would make a bonfire in the evening, my brother would play the guitar and we used to sing together with my dad and mom before she passed away. My grandmother would cook corn, and sweet potatoes for us - it was so delicious” said Baphi, reminiscing about her time with her family.
Baphi and her mom
Life Throws a Curveball
Baphi did dream of getting a college degree and teaching, but it was not to be.
“After my mom passed away, I didn’t continue to study because I need to earn money to support the family and help my younger sister and brother to continue their studies” said Baphi.
How Did Baphi Find Muezart?
Thanks to her cousin Babit who works with Zizira, which is another spin-off of Chillibreeze, Baphi came to know about the opening for an Office Assistant in Zizira. She reached out and things clicked and Baphi joined Zizira.
Very soon she was shifted to Muezart. Why? Because a Muezart team member, Miranda, noticed Baphi’s interest in stitching and found her asking questions about natural dyeing. Though a part of the Zizira team she would assist Miranda in natural dyeing experiments and share insights. Miranda sensed her potential and requested that she be moved to Muezart. Baphi’s responsibilities include packing yarn, dyeing yarn and fiber, and maintaining the office.
Her Attitude Stands Out
Baphi found that she loved the work she did, and she was learning new things – all about Eri Silk, a fiber she had heard about, but never handled. Hard-working, she comes before office hours, early in the morning, to make sure that the workspace is clean before the day begins. This means right from dusting laptops and tables to cleaning all the rooms in the office. Her cheerful nature adds to her charm. She always has a smile on her face while serving tea.
Baphi (center) with her co-workers at Muezart
If you are our customer, then the yarn or the beanie or the stole you bought may well have been packed by Baphi with love and care. And the color that you selected in our upcycle products could well have been naturally dyed by Baphi and her colleagues.
Turning Point in Her Life
Baphi cutting the leaves and plant roots for the mordants
Attending a one-week training workshop on natural dyeing in Marngar, a village in Ri Bhoi district, was a turning point in her life. She fell in love with the art of dyeing. It kindled an interest which has become a passion. Baphi is now super enthusiastic about natural dyeing and is constantly experimenting. Her creative potential is finding expression, much to the joy of her colleagues and herself.
What Are Baphi’s Areas of Interest?
“Working together with the team, learning, experiment with dyeing and learning things that I have never known before. And, I learned about a book on ‘Conscious Business’, (It is about moral values, how to communicate with each other, how to think more effectively. I find it is helping me”.
Where Does She See Herself in the Next 5 Years?
In the next 5 years, I can see myself improving in my work and helping Muezart to be a sustainable company (these are her exact words)
These are Baphi’s exact words, and remember all this coming from a very young girl from a village in Meghalaya who till February of 2019 was wondering what she could do to support her family. Kind of confirms what Muezart and its parent company Chillibreeze believes in – reaching opportunities where there are none and that meaningful work is transformational.
You need two hands to clap. What made this transformation possible was the environment and actions that were co-created by Muezart and Baphi. While Muezart provided an atmosphere for people to thrive, Baphi brought her curiosity and openness to learn new things to the table. She was ready to go the extra mile in whatever she did.
As we say bye to Baphi, it is time to ponder. Muezart hopes to transform lives of the Eri silkworm rearers, spinners, and weavers of Meghalaya. Will we? What do you think the challenges? We will be back soon with Iba’s and Hep’s stories too, more young women who make Muezart.