She is the recipient of the HP LIFE Entrepreneurship Award at New York’s Global Citizen Festival. She is just 22 and a successful entrepreneur running ‘Weaver’s Hut’, an initiative that engages handloom weavers of Baragaon in Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh.
When she was 19 and still pursuing her Bachelor’s in Political Science at Delhi’s Lady Shriram College, Bano Fatima took a two-month training under HP LIFE (HP Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs), which led her to collaborate with cousin Nabila Kidwai to establish Weaver’s Hut, a small-scale social enterprise. Fatima says their aim was to strike at the root of the social discrimination and economic exploitation experienced by the artisan community.
“Our target group were handloom weaving families, which were either economically below the government prescribed poverty line or were widows who have lost their male earning members,” Fatima said.
To develop her own technical and communication skills in order to help this community, Fatima did the HP LIFE training, which made her proficient in using MS Excel for accounting purposes and MS PowerPoint for high-impact sales and marketing presentations. With her new entrepreneurial skill set, Fatima now provides a forum where the weaver community can sell its products in major cities.
“The weavers are in a deplorable condition and are over-exploited. Since the handloom sector in India is still unorganised, we at Weaver’s Hut are facilitating a solution for enhancement in daily wages of the weavers. One of the major challenges faced is that the labour input of the weavers is much more than the productivity,” Fatima said.
After her entrepreneurship story received the most online votes, Fatima was awarded the HP LIFE Entrepreneurship Award at the New York’s Global Citizen Festival on Saturday. She is doing her Masters in Development Studies at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex.