Postcards from India: Issue 2 | Making a difference with re-purposed Sari bags
This month we wanted to share with you our work with the gorgeous souls at Sewing the Seeds. We are humbled to be able to support such an incredible organisation. Take a read below at how we are making a difference to the people of India...
Minimising landfill, empowering women in India to help break the cycle of poverty, providing meaningful employment, a living wage and a positive future. This good news story has our hearts pouring with love for our ongoing partnership with Sewing the Seeds. A non-governmental- organisation that’s changing women’s lives in India.
If you have been surprised with a beautiful re-purposed sari bag in your Daughters of India order, this is a special way of us thanking you for your support and giving back. We have an ongoing agreement with Sewing the Seeds to order their re-purposed sari bags. Ensuring the women who sew these beautiful bags have regular income and can continue working in the communal, safe work environment.
While chatting to Gayle, founder of Sewing the Seeds, it was a reminder of the hardship that women in India face and that every single bit can help to make a difference.
“We were training women in disadvantaged areas to sew and then supplying them with a sewing machine to do it in their home. That was on the premise that the home was a safe place. Many of the women are single mums and come from domestic violence. This is when we shifted our model to create a safe work space for them, away from their homes.
“We are doing more than creating a skill for them to earn a wage. They are family to us. We educate them on finances and savings, security and autonomy. We are trying to help break the cycle of intergenerational gender discrimination where women as young as 13 are being married off.”
As our conversation continued it was so humbling to hear from Gayle how the support of Daughters of India has contributed to keeping women in work for Sewing the Seeds....
“When Covid hit and India went plummeting into it, we did an emergency Covid drive to raise money for all the communities that we work with, where people had no access to food. Daughters of India supported us and helped us to get back on our feet. Other not for profits working with India at the time were forced to close down. We were able to survive with the support of our community and partners such as Daughters of India. The team continued to put orders in with us. We honestly may not still be here and doing this if it wasn’t for them.”
“The bags are all different as we want our women to be able to be creative and design how they like. It shouldn’t be a task for them and they love what they do. Everything we do is eco and sustainable, using organic cotton, repurposing sari fabric, up-cycling and slow fashion.”
Some lucky customers will receive a repurposed sari bag in their order as a gift from Daughters of India. We receive these every few months in a limited supply to ensure there are no time or quantity pressures on the ladies who sew them. We send them out with love from us to you.
They are great to minimise plastic and can store various household items like craft, fruit, pantry items etc. We hope you enjoy.
Below we share some stories of the women who Sewing the Seeds organisation has helped.
Kowai Sarala is a gypsy girl who lived in Samugam’s Jaly home for children voluntarily so that she could have the opportunity to be educated. While she was studying in the 8th year at school she went back home to her village for the summer and was forced by her family to marry. This ended her hopes to complete school.
She was married at the age of 14 and now has a one year old baby that accompanies her to sewing training. Her husband is unemployed and both of them sell balloons and recycled objects that they have scavenged from the rubbish. Her aim is to earn money and built a house for her and her family.
Priya was married to Thangamani when she was 15. They are both from the gypsy community and have two children. Her husband is unemployed and sometimes goes hunting for food.
Priya is a regular student of Sewing the Seeds and she is keen to learn and practise. She takes her own clothes from her home to the centre in order to keep improving her skills. She would like to own her own sewing machine and be able to earn a living from her new skills.
We look forward to sharing more with you next month, with Love, Daughters of India Team xx
By Erin Pyers
To find out more about Sewing the Seed Organisation visit here:
We would love to see how you re-purpose your special bag from Sewing The Seeds ... If you feel like sharing, tag @daughtersofindia so we can have a peek.