Close-up of a black sculpture.

Padmavathi, sculptor

Padmavathi is a 26-year-old mother of two. For her and her family life has been a long struggle. Although she was born into a sculpting family, and learnt the skill as a child, Padmavathi soon discovered it was not considered a profession for women. Her education was short-lived and then she was married off to a sculptor. Unfortunately, orders were hard to come by and their income was meagre.

Then Padmavathi heard about Hand in Hand and joined a Self-Help Group, where she was taught how to save, the basics of accounting and how to expand a small business. She took a loan not only to expand her husband’s business by buying raw material and better tools but also to take up sculpting herself.

She has already paid back that first loan and says “Repayment is not a problem. I made sure the loan is used only for business.”

The village still marvels at her transformation into a self-assured professional sculptor who earns anywhere between INR 7,000 and INR 10,000 a month (US $150 – 200).

Padmavathi, a sculptor from Kanchipuram, India, sitting on a rock sculpture whilst two other men are working.