Be the change you want to see

A small village in Kargil, Ladakh. A small settlement of 200 odd people, it is a small home and a big heart. Sonal Chanana is from Delhi and since I know her through some common friends I have always bumped into her only in the mountains.

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Sonal Chanana

It was in the summer of 2012 when we first discussed about her initiative in the coffee shop of Himachal. Four years later, I finally get in touch with her and get to know closely at what she does.

Knots is a soulful initiative. It brings together the two most important components of any exercise. Revenue and Appreciation. Always working towards the betterment of the society, she chanced upon a village. She was in the vicinity working with an NGO looking for handicrafts to be sold in the city. While at it she interacted with a lot of villagers and craftsmen who were unhappy or completely ignorant as to where their hard work and money goes. Every remuneration that comes to them is minimal to nothing considering the kind of effort that goes in. And being so remote and nobody willing to give up the worldly pleasures, their interests are getting compromised. Sonal took this to the heart. She was determined to try and bring in a change. She started living there.

She merges in with the locals now. She is a part of their family and she behaves like one. Helping with all stages of the knitting process starting from the rearing the sheep to grazing to shedding to cleaning to measurement to knitting to selling to compensation.12190963_845048712277387_7577099933574090848_n-360x254

Knots is a soulful initiative. It brings together the two most important components of any exercise. Revenue and Appreciation. Always working towards the betterment of the society, she chanced upon a village. She was in the vicinity working with an NGO looking for handicrafts to be sold in the city. While at it she interacted with a lot of villagers and craftsmen who were unhappy or completely ignorant as to where their hard work and money goes. Every remuneration that comes to them is minimal to nothing considering the kind of effort that goes in. And being so remote and nobody willing to give up the worldly pleasures, their interests are getting compromised. Sonal took this to the heart. She was determined to try and bring in a change. She started living there.

She merges in with the locals now. She is a part of their family and she behaves like one. Helping with all stages of the knitting process starting from the rearing the sheep to grazing to shedding to cleaning to measurement to knitting to selling to compensation.

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At a sheep farm
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The shepherd and the view. Let’s go grazing
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Cleaning
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Cleaning
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They are left to dry
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Measurements to check the fit
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Correct measurements for the right price tag

She does it all. She is in the thickets of snow the entire year and comes down once a year for the sale of the products she collectively has made with the villagers of various villages in Ladakh. In between, she keeps travelling to any place she gets invited to for a workshop for better upkeep of their skill set and confidence level.

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Discussing Knots

Knots functions in the simplest of the models. She does not teach them anything new to their skillset. She identifies the different kinds of knitting styles they are already masters in and incorporates avant-garde designs into them.

“Nothing is a hassle here,” she says. Usually with somebody who knows their language, she makes it crisp and direct. “ All of Knots meetings are on the roads and we catch a corner to discuss”.  Speaking about surviving in the extreme cold weather, she smiles and says,” Everything is so breathtakingly engulfing. It’s easy.”

The exhibitions take place once a year in Delhi and it sees a lot of expats as well as locals and it is indeed the best way to give back to society because the rest of it is taken care by Knots and Sonal Chanana.
Visit her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/knotsinindia/ and her website http://www.knotsinindia.com/ for more insight and help her in any way you can.

Originally published here

http://mywanderlust.com/be-the-change-you-want-to-see/

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