The Dignity of Labor – Inspiration from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we are reminded of the impact that one person can have.  This year, let’s think about fairness and equality in the past and present.  Let’s think about how we can learn from our role models and predecessors, finding new ways of bettering our lives and the lives of people we may never even meet.  Let’s think about dignity:

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King believed that everyone is created equal and deserves the opportunity to grow and learn.  This sentiment is shared by our artisan partners, Ankur Kala, in Kolkata, India.  Though the members of this group live on the other side of the globe and established themselves after Dr. King’s time, the same values are upheld.  They hold fast to the belief that hard work pays off, and even though a person may be born into a difficult situation, there is always hope for a better life. This sentiment is shared in Ankur Kala’s motto:

Not by charity nor by sympathy but through our hard work and integrity we shall strive for our dignity.

– Ankur Kala

Annie Joseph - Ankur Kala, IndiaAnkur Kala means, “a seedling of art.”  This artisan group helps provide women basic education in language, accounting, and business so that they can acquire the skills necessary to manage their own small ventures.  Many of the women working with this group have been victims of exploitation, and joining the group has been their first step towards self-reliance.

Ten Thousand Villages works with Ankur Kala to create tie-dyed scarves, batik greeting cards, wall hangings, and other beautifully handcrafted items.

It is founder Annie Joseph’s (pictured left) dream that each of the women will live the values of Ankur Kala and sow the seeds of hope, integrity and inspiration among others.

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