Meet some of our artisans
Sonam Karna, Mithila Artist
In 2018, Sonam partnered with Chaudhary Foundation to create the Mithila painting outside of Shashwat Dham’s Unnati outlets, which led her to an opportunity to paint the World bank’s walls as well. Here is her story:
When she was only fourteen-years-old, Sonam Karna became a well-known Mithila artist in India. However, the journey there was a long one, especially for such a young girl.
Sonam was born and raised near the Indian border in Janakpur, Nepal. Growing up, her grandmother taught her how to do Mithila, a traditional style of “folk painting” on the Indian subcontinent, and they would practice stroke after stroke for hours until she perfected the technique.
Though Sonam didn’t complete her schooling, she eventually joined Janakai Utpadan Samudayek Sanstha, a production group affiliated with Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF). The skill development training program helped her commercialize her work and advance her skills through management training, revolving funds and market linkage.
Following the training, she used her newfound courage to provide similar development training to other women in her community and began painting more.
Like many young women in her community, she married a few years later and became very involved in domestic duties, so she stopped pursuing Mithila art. As time passed, though, she realized it was important for her to earn for herself and do what she loved, so she decided to begin Mithila art again.
Today, Sonam is “proud” because she can support her family and encourage and inspire other young Nepali women to persevere and work.
“The hardships I have faced in life and the upbringing my parents have done has made me become the person I am today,” she said.