Name: Nasreen Sheikh
Business: Local Women Handicrafts
Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
Industry: Apparel & Accessories
Reason for starting? My name is Nasreen Shekh. I am approximately 25 years old, although I do not know my real birthdate. I grew up in a very corrupt and conservative village near the India-Nepal border where women have absolutely no rights. I left my village when I was around 12 years old and moved to Kathmandu, Nepal, where I started to learn different handicraft skills. I was a child laborer in a sweat shop producing goods for export for a few years.
My family started to arrange my marriage when I was around 18. I was able to escape this forced marriage with the help of my brother, sisters and friends. I spent years working and putting my focus on the women who needed help the most. I have been continuously working to educate as many girls and women as possible. I opened a store in Nepal called Local Women’s Handicrafts and started building a training center for women in 2014. The work of Local Women’s Handicrafts have been written about in many different publications, such as Forbes and Huffington Post.
How do you define success? When I was very young I experienced a lot of social problems with women’s rights. At that time, I felt that this was how our society works. When my own sister was forced into marriage, seeing her crying and very sad made me think, “I am going to be like her in a few years too.” So I started to look for help, and once you seek the help you need… so many doors open. At the age of 12, I was able to escape from this oppressive circumstance and come to the capital city of Nepal, where I found myself working in a sweatshop until I was 16. After a few years, I opened a social business called Local Women’s Handicrafts in Nepal and was able to empower 40 women. From that moment I have never stopped. So far we have trained hundreds of women and our aim is to train marginalized and disadvantaged women all over the world with working skills to allow them to become financially independent and eventually give them a business plan to become a social entrepreneur.
Biggest success: My biggest success to this date is being a public speaker. I share my joy, success and ideas with the world. It’s very easy to get lost in this big world of information. But we never realize that the whole world exists in us. I take baby steps with each problem I face, and today I am living an inspiring life with so many other women.
Related: Positive Attitude, Positive Change
What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? I always meditate on my problems and wait for solution to arise naturally.
Who is your most important role model? Dr Samantha Collins.
Edited by The Story Exchange