For the girls who embroider garments in Indian-administered Kashmir, their craft brings a heavy cost, NewsDeeply reports.
They spend their days hunched over delicate needlework, some of which can take months to complete, and it's taking a toll on their health. For some, it causes serious vision loss.
Zahida Akhter, 18, sits in a corner in her workshop on the outskirts of Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir. She stays near the window to get more light as she puts the final touches on the cloak she is working on.
Zahida starts work each day at 9 a.m. and goes home at 6 p.m. After finishing her chores at home around 10 p.m., she continues to work by candlelight until 3 a.m. She gets two hours of sleep, then wakes up before her family to do more embroidery until it’s time for her to go back to the workshop. Around 30 girls work with her, and most are under the age of 18.
Doctors have told her to give up the work, but Zahida, who can barely read or write, says embroidery is the only way she can help provide for her family, including six younger siblings who are too young to work.
“How can I give it up as it is the only means for me to keep my family going?” she asks. “So, I don’t pay any attention to the doctor’s recommendations.”
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