At JOYN, we are in the business of fashioning better lives. We believe that our engagement with our workforce is not limited to professional excellence only. Our wonderful artisans are people who have been through immense and often unimaginable struggles. They have lived on the margins all their lives. Now that they are at JOYN with some semblance of stability, they want a different life for their children. They want for their kids what they wish they had for themselves.
The Little JOYNers
Our afternoons are filled with happy sounds of these little JOYNers. Two of our mothers, Mamta and Karma pack out all your orders for shipping. Mamta’s son Kanak is a few months short of one year and has taken to crawling all around the office. Karma’s son Sonam is now studying in a good school here and insists on finishing his homework as soon as he returns from school. Sonam’s father Nyima is a block printer here. His work table is right next to Bobby’s who is the proud Dad of our little Krishna. Krishna has a hearing impairment. He is now going to a really good school for the hearing impaired and is doing really well there. Our little Tencho is about the same age as Sonam. Her parents both work here: her dad Dorjee is a block printer and her mom Jhangchup is handing over her erstwhile duties as the office cook to transition into sewing bags. She is a tough little girl and has the most incredible smile.
Our kids have seen glimpses of hardships that their parents underwent. Little Sonam was separated from his parents for 2 years when they crossed over the border into India from Tibet, in the hope of finding an opportunity for a better life. Our sweet Krishna was abandoned by his mother because he is deaf and mute, and was raised single-handedly by a father who himself was struggling with alcohol addiction. Also, it is culturally acceptable for adults to hit children to discipline them, and that hard.
Incentives at Work
Back when I studied business management, there were several modules dedicated to employee performance and morale. But it was always about work: a good work environment, ensuring work-life balance, good incentives, close monitoring and supervision and a million such things. None of them were ever about personal struggles. None of them were about difficult family situations or illnesses or anything outside of the office premises. I look at the parents of these kids here and I know instantly that there is no better work environment and no greater incentive for them than a place where their children are safe and happy.
The things is, when we stepped outside the boundaries of what we know, we were able to find these beautiful little paths and ways that lead us to wonderful things. We stepped out of the definition of what businesses stand for. We work together, we live around each other and we built a family that is working together. We share what we get: both the successes and mistakes and we thrive in this loving environment.
Our Hope for our Kids
We cannot wait to see what they will grow up to be. We watch, happily how Sonam and Krishna have learnt to communicate with each other, even though Sonam speaks very little Hindi and Krishna cannot hear nor speak. We watch Kanak grow bigger every day and wonder how many languages he will be able to speak when he is older: Hindi, Rajasthani, English, Tibetan and the Indian sign language in the least!
Our hope is to be able to slowly set up an excellent activity-based after school crèche here at JOYN for all our kids. We are adopting a zero tolerance policy about adults hitting kids and are helping our people deal with issues at home and especially with kids and to step beyond what they know about raising children.
I think that together we make great bags. And I think that together we are fashioning lives for each other and for our kids that are just as great!