The Weekend Leader - Kind roses

Two sisters dedicate their lives for girl’s education, donating all they earn

Kirthi Jayakumar   |   Chennai


Vol 5 | Issue 19

Charity begins at home and personal values can shape the future of a community. Those are the thoughts that strike me as I enter The Wild Rose Design Studio in Chennai.

The store is warm and welcoming, the decor providing a muted backdrop for the artistically crafted pieces on display. An array of clocks, boxes, candle holders, gift bags, ornate dust-bins, table mats, elegant curios and mirrors stare back at me from the display shelves. There is an air of calm about this space that is refreshing.

Divya and Ritu Jhaveri have set up The Wild Rose Design Studio in Chennai to support the cause of educating girls (Photos: WFS)

The brainchild of two sisters, Divya and Ritu Jhaveri, the studio is an initiative that produces and sells handmade corporate gifts and curios. But it is not your average craft outlet based on the drive to maximise profits. Here the entire sale proceeds go towards the education of girls.

States Divya flatly, “We have had absolutely no issues sticking to this decision we made. On the contrary, when a few people mentioned that we should keep a part of the profit for ourselves, both of us responded with a firm refusal because we believe that it is precisely this approach of earmarking 100 per cent of the profits for our cause that has been our biggest motivating force.

“Working hard and then using all the money for someone else’s advancement - nothing can explain that feeling! It is something to be experienced.

“As far as we are concerned, we consider ourselves to be working for Wild Rose, and not as owners of the company. So when we don't own company, how can we be involved in changing any decision made by the company?”

When Divya was still in college studying for her Bachelor’s degree in Visual Communications in a bid to hone her love for designing, it never really occurred to her that she would be furthering the cause of girls’ education in the future.

Life had been kind and Divya realised that she was fortunate enough to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without actually working hard for it.

“Earlier, whatever money was generated was used to buy new clothes, bags and jewellery for myself. But all the excess baggage of material wealth began to weigh on me and I just wanted to go in search of myself, in search of my teacher. To do this, I took a break from everything around me!” she recalls.

The turning point came about three years ago. Reading books brought out by the Bihar School of Yoga provided a new direction to her life.

Divya reveals, “I went to Rikhia, where I was at an ashram that worked along with a yoga ashram in Munger. I met my guru, Swami Satsangi, there and listened to some of her discourses on selfless service.

“I witnessed the people of the ashram work tirelessly, round the clock, just to be able to provide their neighbours – ordinary villagers – with food, shelter, clothing and education. They don’t live for themselves, but for others. What attracted me first and foremost was to see a woman leading an ashram.”

he Wild Rose Design Studio sells handmade corporate gifts and artistic curios

Divya’s period of exploration got her to start Wild Rose and to streamline all her work towards financially supporting the education of girls. “The education and values which the children of the ashram are blessed with, makes me question our pattern of education.

“The young girls and boys of Rikhia walk with their head held high, converse in English like any one of us and are confident of taking on anything,” she smiles.

Currently, Ritu, Divya’s younger sister, has joined up to be a crusader for the cause as well. The two of them have been working hard at the store and have now identified a young girl whose education they wish to support.

“We have found one very brilliant girl and are in midst of getting her details from Assam. Having finished her graduation, she now wants to do a course in teachers’ training.

“Right now, we are waiting to take a look at her marksheets and then we will go ahead with the fee structure details of the course she wants to pursue. Like we said, we will use the money for hard working, deserving girls like her, who want study further, either in college or for their post graduate studies.”

Both Divya and Ritu regard Wild Rose as part of a big family. Working hard to support the aspirations of girls through their own hard work, Divya and Ritu hold a lot of promise for the future through their touching and far sighted ways.

From being an inspiration to many of their contemporaries to becoming the source of a brighter future for the girls whose lives they will revolutionise, these sisters are creating ripples in the great sisterhood that unites all women. - Women's Feature Service


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