Designer and Changemaker:
Usha Prajapati is a woman of meaning, a woman of positive influence and power. She is young, talented and inspiring, termed rightly as a ‘changemaker’ by many. Analyzing the model of Usha’s design collective for women, Samoolam, one can’t help but believe in the progression of design acting
as a catalyst of change.
Usha was born in Gaya, a small town of Bihar to a family of seven siblings. Each one had their own talents—cooking, painting, sewing, singing and dancing. Each successive sister moved out of Gaya one by one to study in different parts of the country. Usha, too, moved to Ahmedabad to study design at the prestigious National Institute of Design. Neither her lack of fashion sense nor her inability to speak English could keep her from this enriching world.
Post college, she first worked for a paper craft company called Xylem. She credits her solid work ethic and inner strength to the company. ‘They nurtured me in the real sense. I call them my guardians. They pushed me and helped my transition from a student to a professional in the field,’ she recalls. But after working for the private limited company for close to three years, she felt arid and discontented. The commercial strife for money displeased her. ‘I wanted to give back to my roots. I wanted to do something for the community. I remember the day I came back to my village after completing my studies. I felt miserable when I looked at the condition of the women of Gaya. And then I thought, design is a very powerful profession. It just depends how you use it. You can either use it to make a brand of yourself, or you can use it to make a change in the society.’ Usha chose the latter.
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