"I look at my work and feel proud that I made it so far."
Life hasn’t been easy for 31 year old Suraj Das. He gave up his education after high school to help out in the family business of screen printed fabrics. When his family left his home state of West Bengal and moved to Rajasthan, Suraj moved with them. There he met and married his wife, Puja.
In 2004, Suraj decided to branch off on his own, selling his wife’s jewellery and borrowing money from well-wishers to set up his own enterprise. Despite having worked with his father, Suraj had a lot to learn about being an entrepreneur. It took him two years to settle into his business which today specializes in creating screen printed fabrics for everyday use including tablecloths, bedspreads and women’s fashions. Asha Handicrafts Association helped expose Suraj to the principles of Fair Trade and instilled in him the importance of quality control as well. Suraj was quick to incorporate Fair Trade policies in his workplace. At any given time, he has 20 artisans working for him and he ensures that they get paid fairly, on time, and also receive educational assistance for their children.
A little known fact about Suraj is that before he joined his family business, he was a proficient Martial Arts student, a skill he worked on improving for many years. “No matter how much you learn, it isn’t enough, “ he says, stressing the need to constantly learn new things to keep with the times. Suraj is a young man with a zest for life and a thirst to excel in what he does. He currently works out of a leased factory but hopes to one day buy his own land where he can personally oversee all the steps involved in the screen printing process.
Suraj has one daughter who he is educating so that she can have a bright and prosperous future.