Meet the Artisans: Kamlesh

Kamlesh's Story

Kamlesh was 17 when her parents insisted that she marry. She did not want to marry that young and she was already working as a receptionist. However, once her daughter was born, she became a full time housewife which she resisted. When her family was struggling, she tried to find work but it was difficult with her little one. Soon her son was born and the family was in an even tighter financial situation. 

Happily, Kamlesh connected with a fair trade artisan group and learned how to make jewelry and accessories.

The type of jewelry she makes is called Kantha, which means “patched cloth.” Used saris are sown together with a special stitch to make blankets and other quilted products. Kantha jewelry is similar - wooden beads made from scrap wood are covered in the upcycled cloth then connected together to form necklaces, bracelets and earrings.  

Kamlesh also found encouragement from the other women artisans, which was invaluable as her husband was struggling with alcoholism and she faced even more responsibility at home. Soon she was earning enough to support herself and her children. Kamlesh eventually became a full time employee at the group’s office, and with the help of WorldFinds’ Girls Education Fund, Anjali’s school costs are being taken care of. Her husband is currently doing better and they have reconciled, but Kamlesh feels secure knowing that she can provide for her children no matter what the future holds.

Check out our kantha quilts here:

Kantha eyeglass holders here:

And kantha necklaces here:

Information from and