A Day in the Life of Maya2 years ago
I met Maya at the Purnaa office a few months ago and immediately connected with her. She was one of the first employees to come up and talk to me, the new Purnaa volunteer. She was so friendly and easy to befriend despite the language barriers.
Purnaa is an ethical garment manufacturer in Kathmandu, Nepal with a social mission to empower those most marginalized by society to fresh starts and fulfilled lives. At Purnaa, we produce premium garments and accessories, primarily women’s and children’s wear, in a beautiful, “not-a-sweatshop”, manufacturing unit. We are passionate about quality manufacturing, environmental sustainability, and making Purnaa a great place to work.
Before working at Purnaa, Maya worked for a construction company, hauling heavy loads of bricks on her back. Today she enjoys working at Purnaa because of the friendships she has made and the dignity she is shown there.
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege to go to Maya’s home and learn more about her life. She was so welcoming to me and my husband, who also came along. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was excited. Upon our arrival, the smile on Maya’s face was from ear to ear. She couldn’t wait to show us what her life is like.
Maya has been married and living in the same house for five years. It is a quaint, one bedroom home, with a bathroom outside of the home. Even with its small size, Maya has turned it into an inviting home. The two-burner stove and kitchen supplies are on one side of the room, while the dresser and bookshelves (which her husband made himself) are on the other, with the bed at the back. It was a very cozy home. Their home is connected to her in-laws store, so they get to see his family very often.
Maya has one son who is three years old. His name is Manjil. He really enjoys playing and running around with his cousins. Maya loves to spend as much time as she can with her son. Their favorite activity to do together is play and splash around in the water. It took him a little while to warm up to me, but by the end of our trip he was smiling and posing for pictures.
I got to experience what Maya’s daily life looks like. She starts her day at 6am with getting herself dressed and ready. Once she has gotten herself ready, she then walks about 200 yards to get water for her and her family. She has a gold jug that she carries with her every day to get water from the local tap. Usually she is met there by friends who are also getting water, doing dishes, or washing laundry. This is the only source of water for Maya and her neighborhood.
After getting their water for the day, Maya sweeps and cleans their house. Once her son wakes up, she makes some tea and her husband reheats some food from their evening meal for breakfast. After breakfast, Maya gets her son dressed and ready for school. Once all of that is done, she again walks to the community tap to wash the dishes from the morning.
Maya’s son attends pre-school every day while she is at work. The bus picks him up near their house. On days that her son does not have school, he plays with his Grandma or his Aunt who live nearby.
Maya does all of those things in only one hour. She leaves for work at 7am. She walks about half a mile to the bus stop and takes two different buses to get to Purnaa. It takes her about an hour and a half to get to work, which starts at 8:30am.
At Purnaa she is on Team Indira as a sewer. She told me that she enjoys the work she does and has made friends with many at Purnaa. During break times, you are sure to find her chatting with her friends.
After work, it takes Maya an hour and a half to get home, sometimes longer because transportation can be harder to get at that time of day. Once she gets home, she buys the groceries needed for dinner and cooks for her family. After dinner is finished, she goes to the community tap again to wash the dishes. After that, she enjoys the rest of her evening with her family.
Maya loves her family and works hard to help take care of them. She told me multiple times that she loves her job at Purnaa and is really happy with where her life is at right now. I was honored to get to spend the day with her and learn more about her world and am delighted to be at Purnaa and learning about Nepali culture.
Written by Sonja Kraft
Photography credit: Sonja Kraft Photography