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A company’s profit in an artisan’s gain

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Update after surgery

As many of you would be aware, Shyam underwent a corrective procedure for his polio-stricken leg. A surgery was performed on his leg on July 15, 2014, and ever since then his leg has been in a cast. The cast was changed a couple of days back and his wonderful doctor says Shyam’s leg is straightening out nicely. We hope that he will soon be able to have calipers instated, which will begin his journey to walk without support (he has been using a crutch all his life).

Community support

One of the best things about having a people-centered business is that the relationship among all members of the company goes way beyond work. Shyam’s surgery taught us a lot about our community. Shyam is currently living with Bobby, who has a room in our office premises. In the first few days of his surgery when Shyam could not move around, people here went up in ones and twos to spend time with him all day long. During meal and tea times, they would flock in groups, both to spend time with our recuperating hero and also to watch the movie-marathon that Shyam had going on Bobby’s tiny TV set and DVD player. Now with his leg straightening out nicely, he is no longer confined to the room and is usually found chatting with his group in the blocking area. His mother and other family come to visit him often.

 

Fear and Doubt

Before her son underwent the surgery, Shyam’s mother was reluctant and scared. She had her reasons. The woman lost her husband a few months ago and with a large family to feed, she could not afford to risk the employability of the only earning member of her family—her son, Shyam. It took counseling, some stern talking, and a lot of patience to get her to agree to this much-needed medical procedure.

Recently, the mother of another young block printer, Santosh—who was left crippled in both legs by polio—came to the JOYN office to say that she is not willing to risk her son’s ability to crawl for the possibility of his being able to walk. She was explained about the safety of the procedure and given the assurance that even if Santosh is unable to walk, he will not lose his ability to crawl.

Building relationships when it is not easy

The people with whom we work are among the most marginalized groups here. They belong from social castes, communities, and work groups that are oppressed and even hated by society at large. Therefore, though it is frustrating when they do not place their faith in well-intended efforts to reach out, it is also understandable. For people who have seen only rejection and contempt, care is not easily accepted. But as we work to make our business grow and add more people to our community, we also keep working at our old relationships to make them stronger and deeper. That, after all, is what business is all about.

 

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