Eight women in Karamadai, South India – living at the poverty line – meet nearly every day. With smiles on their faces. Even in Covid times.
Before they started to work in the group – more than five years back – they could hardly earn little money and often it was a huge challenge to pay the most necessary things to their children. Their professional skills and education was rather low. But all of them wanted to change and to take the initiative. When I met them the first time – more by chance- they told me that they wanted to go into tailoring while looking into niche products. An idea that surprised me. Not because of the tailoring, but because of the particular idea and Spirit on how they told me about their ideas. The change started with a few manual tailoring machines, some Christian sisters who allowed them to use a room for free and a first training course.
Today, after more than five years they still are all the same – with an even more visible willingness to succeed. They have not just invested in tailoring skills, but also in digital knowledge. This helps them to go beyond local/ national national styles and to understand how also international design looks. It’s a source that helps them to get many new ideas …
One of their favorite items are tailor products for children:
Recently, they have designed several children covers with bigger sizes (ca 1.5 x 0,95 m) which can be used also as murals in children rooms. All pieces are unique and fully handmade.
“To produce such a cover, it takes between 3 – 5 days minimum. We use good materials. And nice colors. We have no access to big shops which might sell them and give us big orders. But we try on our own and network where possible. It’s not easy as we don’t know many business people. Our income is not high, but it helps to pay school fees and to buy food for our families. We struggle also with regular sales and orders. And we would be happy to find more customers,“ one of the tailoring women says.
„Yes, but we also enjoy our work and love to sit together and to do our own designs. We can adapt our working hours to the family needs and decide ourselves on how our working conditions are. There is no one telling us what we have to do. We really enjoy working together – as colleagues and friends,“ adds another tailor woman and smiles.
I visit this group regularly during my travels to India. It is amazing to see how they have started and how they have developed over time. They have improved a lot their tailoring skills over time, and have become much more self confident and creative. Even their English skills are better now. And their role as women in the families has changed.
If you are interested in some models, feel free to contact. In my non profit oriented online shop I sell some of their products.
All profit goes back to them so that they can invest in machines and new ideas.
Empower these women to empower themselves!