Nature Maker Network live in the state of Andhra Pradesh. There are 18 members. The makers live in villages near a Catholic Brotherhood who provide basic vocational training. Between them they have 40 children. The area where they live has been affected by drought for a number of years. The land is cheap and to attract businesses the government gives the land away. As a result 15 international garment factories have set up there. Work in the factories is available to women who do not have young children. The work is hard, hourly production is monitored, the hours are long (8.30am to 6.30pm, plus a walk to and from home) and the treatment of the workers is unsatisfactory, as is the pay they receive. There are no holidays and they are only entitled to Sundays off. The mental and physical impact of years of work in these factories is devastating and many are left unable to work again. The only income-generating activities aside from the factory work is incense making, sari blouse making and seasonal agriculture jobs. Drought means that there is little crop growth and the women’s main focus is finding water and storing it safely for drinking. The makers have one goal and one dream: to work as hard as they can to enable their children to have the best education and chance in life, so that they do not face the same challenges that they have.
On Fritha's visit to India in September 2018, she was delighted to hear that three members of Nature have all bought their own treadle sewing machine from their income making Secret Pillows. They have each started their own micro enterprise and take orders from neighbours to make blouses and dresses.
From left to right: Yashoda, Rohini and Alivelu