On a recent trip to India to seek out suitable ethical projects to support and work with, we came across this project which was based in the Malad Slums in Mumbai. You can read about my trip to India by looking at my blog.
Sakhi Navnirman Charitable Trust
Sakhi Navnirman are a women's empowerment group based in the Ambujwadi slums of Malad. The women who work at the project work in extreme conditions with limited space, no sanitation and adverse temperatures. Despite this the girls choose to work at Sakhi Navnirman Charitable Trust to earn a wage and improve their life skills. The girls are extremely ambitious and have high aspirations to become teachers and leaders. The girls are taught to make clothing and bags to a high standard which are then sold so that they can support their families and provide education for their children.
The project leader, Dayabhai, has fought so hard to establish the project to offer opportunities to these women and even been in prison due to his activism. He is passionate about empowering these ladies and has set up this sewing group offering training to develop sewing skills. He employs 15 girls, some go to school as well as working with him, some do not. The oldest girl was 18 and they have learnt all their skills from him. When we were there each girl gave us a little presentation about what they have learnt and where they hope to go with their careers. They are all so ambitious and desire to learn as much as they can. We were so touched by their aspirations and desire to become leaders. These girls have come from nothing and through opportunities are slowly climbing high....We are keen to support this project and will be developing some ideas as to the most effective ways to support their development. We have some ideas planned .......They make beautiful bags and made bags for us whilst we watched them.The upstairs working conditions are so cramped and hot yet the girls work hard because they want to learn and do well.Dayabhai has a plan to try to build a school in the slum area and also to take his project out to the rural areas. We spent a considerable amount of time with the project and were given sugar cane drinks during our visit.
We decided that, of all the great projects we visited, this one was the one we wanted to work with. We bought a selection of bags and paid considerably more than the asking price so that Dayabhai can use the extra money to improve conditions for the ladies. We will report on how this money has helped the project in future posts.