This past Sunday we lost a dear friend and artisan partner, Asha Bharat Kamble. She lived in Miraj, India and worked alongside friends and family in a weaving group in a Hansen's (formerly known as leprosy) colony. She did sewing, pressing, and organizational work despite suffering from internal damage caused by Hansen's Disease. (Her heart was not strong enough to do the cardiovascular work of weaving.) She was also an expert in making sure everyone was served delicious chai in beautiful teacups which kept us going through the day.
It's especially hard to lose someone who is still so young and full of life and joy. Hansens is now totally curable with early detection and the World Health Organization estimates that this will be the last generation who suffers from this disease which has caused so much grief and isolation throughout human history.
We carry her memory forward with us and redouble our efforts to create economic stability alongside great people who are fighting to survive and give their families a chance to thrive.
Sending love and respect to Asha's mother; Kamal, daughter; Dipmala, son; Digambar, and sister; Usha.
Rest peacefully and save some chai for us when next we meet, Ashatai!