ARTIST STORY: Mukta Begum
When I first started AMERICAN NOMAD, one of the first partners I connected with was Basha Boutique. For so many years I had seen these colorful quilts around and always marveled at how beautiful they were and how comfortable they looked, but I never knew what they were called or how they were made. After a lot of outreach and research, I discovered they were called kanthas and I knew I wanted them to be a staple at AMERICAN NOMAD. Once I connected with Basha and understood their mission and story, my love for kanthas just grew. BASHA provides dignified work for women in Dhaka, Bangladesh who were rescued from human trafficking. Meaning “house of hope,” BASHA dreams of a day when women are not at risk of exploitation and no longer live in fear. BASHA procures re-purposed saris that have been time-softened to create each kantha throw. They match contrasting saris which are then hand-stitched into one-of-a-kind pieces. The kantha is BASHA’s symbol representing beauty emerging from the discarded and broken - lives being made whole stitch by stitch.
This is Mukta's story, in her own words. She is just one of many inspiring women who have found hope and dignity working at Basha Boutique.
I am Mukta. I work in Basha’s textile department. I never had a happy family. My parents were divorced in my childhood. I was raised in my step mother’s house. Even after my marriage I did not get a happy family. My husband’s relatives did not behave well with me. My mother in-law’s house is very wealthy but they treated me as their house helper. My husband left me with three children.
In this helpless situation I came to CUP. I received the love that I longed for from CUP. I have learned many things from here; literacy, making blankets, tailoring, and more. From there I received a job at Basha. I love my work place. Everyone is very kind here. I have peace in my heart. I did not get respect from my husband. I worked very hard all day long but there was no appreciation.
Now I am earning my own living. I feel honoured when I receive my salary. I am thankful to God for my work. I am happy with my salary and I try to save some for my children’s future.