Monday, May 6, 2013

if you teach a woman to sew...


here's a little something that is actually in fact quite large.  if our corner of the blogisphere isn't the right place to share it, i don't know where is.

i look at pictures of collapsed buildings and raging fires, the products of which make up far too much of my closet, and i think about the lives of others around the world and the ways in which we simply can't make it all better, and so i stand motionless.  and i am amazed by those who can see past the enormity of problems out there in the world, who are able to do something to make something BETTER. 

two such ladies, nikki and kria (the latter being my friend, and how i came to know about this), have hatched a plan to make something better: empower widows in india with the skills and tools they need to support themselves and their families, through sewing.  why?  well, here, they explain it best:

In India, a widow is the ultimate social outcast. Seen as a burden whose bad luck caused her husband’s death, a widow is stripped of her colorful saris, jewelry, and bindi. A widow is no longer referred to as “she” but “it,” and is expected to mourn the loss of her husband until her death. She is left to care for her dependents with little or no resources.
We are traveling to southern India for two and a half weeks with the goal of establishing a small sewing cooperative for widows in Coimbatore. Ultimately, our hope is to provide economic opportunity and empowerment to women who need it the most.

they've already traveled to coimbatore, to begin the process with their indian counterpart, sister stella baltazar, a woman who runs a support group for over 200 widowed women at the franciscan missionaries of mary.   

it's the kind of thing you wish you had the energy/power/courage to do, yes?  in my case it is.

and of course (and you knew this was coming), we can all be a part of this, by helping to fund their mission. you can check out their indiegogo campaign page, read up on it, and if it's your bag, throw a little change their way. they're almost halfway to their goal.  or, if there's not a dime to spare, you can share their campaign and spread the word.

as a me-maker, as a sewist, as a human, i'm in.  i'd love to see them realize their mission.

 update: thank you all so much for your thoughtful comments and your contributions!  they are so much closer to their goal because of peeps like YOU.

60 comments:

  1. You have me in tears...crying. This is such a touching story and I am so happy to hear that there is already a group of people who have pulled together to help these women! I definitely want to help and will spread the word! Thanks for sharing. Amazing...

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    1. hey girl, you're totally welcome-- the thing i love about this is that it's something we an DO.

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  2. This is a truly beautiful cause, thanks for letting me know about it! I made a donation and shared it on my own blog as well.

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    1. ps: your new post just popped up in my reader, thank you for the shout out... and great luck with your drawing, tho i expect the sewing stash will miss you...

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  3. This is the kind of aid that I think is really important, empowering people to become independent. I've made a donation and I'll share it on my blog! Best of luck reaching the target!

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    1. thank you!!!! they've bumped up a bit today and every penny counts!

      whoah. sally struthers moment.

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  4. This is amazing! The more I hear about stories like this the more I want to be involved. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. it makes you feel, i don't know, needed? responsible? anything but helpless, at any rate :)

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  5. What an amazing endeavor worthy of our support and generosity! Thanks so much for sharing their story; I'm delighted to help them reach their financial goal.

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    1. thank you tina lou! that's exactly how i felt when i clicked donate, delighted :)

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  6. have much to give, but something is better than nothing!

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    1. It was supposed to say, I don't have much to give.

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    2. it made sense! that's the way i feel too, but with everyone doing a little it adds up.

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  7. what a great project. I donated, hopefully you'll reach the goal soon. Such a lovely project

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    1. thank you! i know they appreciate it so much!

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  8. So good to hear about people out there making a difference!

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    1. right? makes me wanna pack up and do something.

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  9. Done! Great suggestion Marcy.

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  10. Thank you for sharing the story, I made a donation and am wishing their much better future.

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  11. Thank you to everyone that has made a contribution! We are so grateful for your support and I know that the women in our cooperative will be in awe of how generous and kind people on the other side of the world can be. Your words and actions are so heartwarming :)

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  12. What amazing work these two women are doing to help empower other women- simply awesome. I'm in on this and will be sharing the story and link.

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  13. All the best for such a novel mission. God bless!

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  14. Thanks for sharing this Oona, made a small donation, hope it helps:)

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  15. What a great project! Thanks for sharing! I'm so excited to hear more about these women!

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  16. People like these restore my faith in humanity. It's so amazing how these women are actually taking action to make things better for the underprivileged. I Wish them all the best with their project!

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  17. This is a potent issue due to the factory collapse in Bangladesh. Here in the UK I sometimes shop with People Tree - ethical/ fair trade clothing, with a clear line of production. http://www.peopletree.co.uk/

    I also suggest reading Lucy Seigles articals in the Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/05/dhaka-disaster-fashion-must-react

    Avaaz worldwide campaign aimed at multi nationals : http://www.avaaz.org/en/crushed_to_make_our_clothes_loc/?fp

    We can all make a more informed choice of where we shop - if it's cheap the chances are somebody who made it isn't being paid much and possibly the factory the are in is cheaply and unsafely run.

    Best of luck with the campaign in India - more of these investments in decent projects are a good thing.

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    1. i'll be reading these, and i've decided i'm seriously changing my shopping habits.

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  18. Count on me to support with a contribution and blog post (s). It's a beautiful story of how we all make life better for someone.

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  19. I was going to say something about "ethical" shopping and People Tree, how nice that CraftyClaire beat me to it! I'd add that it's not just cheap clothing that's made in sweatshops - the price charged for the finished garment isn't a reliable indicator of how much the makers were paid. I'm not someone who believes that consumerism can save the world, but since we do have to buy some things, we really all have a responsibility as humans, to our fellow humans, to make sure the stuff we buy is made by people working in safe conditions for a living wage. Clothing is actually now one of the easiest things to buy "ethically", there are loads of companies offering better alternatives. This project sounds great and to be sustainable we all have to choose to give our business to these kind of co-ops *instead of* the mainstream companies.

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  20. This is amazing - I'm so happy that such an initiative exists. Thank you for sharing!

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  21. I wish I had the courage to do something like this! Kudos to these women! An awesome project indeed!

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  22. Anto (blog-Stardustsoul) and I have an ongoing dialogue, via email, and when she tells me about her life in Argentina, it floors me how sheltered and lucky I am. There are so many people in this world and most of them don't live the priviledged lives that Americans do. Even though it is my mission to give back by teaching others the hidden pattern making skills I was so fortunate to learn, there are others ways I can give back too.

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  23. This is an amazing project. Thank you for sharing the information. I have made a donation and wish I could do more!

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  24. What a great idea. That's fantastic.

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  25. That's a great thing to do - A organization called Danusha do something similar with women in Nepal, but these women have become outcasts because of leprosy and the work making beautiful beaded jewellery, which sells in the UK and the social enterprise helps provide education, sanitation and healthcare for the women and their villages.

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  26. Instead of giving in to my shopping urges I am inspired to make something and instead give my money to a great cause. Thanks for sharing!

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  27. This is awesome! Thanks for sharing!!

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  28. Thanks for sharing this -- such a great thing! I also love kiva micro-lending (http://www.kiva.org/start) because even a small contribution can make a huge difference in someone's real life!

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  29. Awesome. Thank you for this post! Definitely support!

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  30. liked the campaign and contributed - thanks for sharing! Marina

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  31. This is fantastic - thanks for sharing. As a new blogger I've already been struggling with all issues around clothing production...the tragedy in Bangladesh as brought it all to a head (current total death toll is 931!). I am constantly astounded how cheap clothing is and now find myself unable to take something off the rack without thinking about the process behind it.
    I absolutely love reading sewing blogs and admiring what others are doing but I also don't want to get so drawn in that I miss the bigger picture - life isn't all about a gorgeous blouse with perfectly placed darts. I would like to use my skills and my platform (however small) to make more of a different than just inspiring someone to sew a scarf.
    Oh, my thoughts on this aren't fully formed yet but you've really set me alight! I'm heading straight to check it out further.
    Thanks for sharing and let's hope this lovely, welcoming, encouraging sewing community can pull together to make a real difference!

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  32. The movie Water [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_(2005_film)] is about the plight of widows ...

    I think it's great that they are giving these women a chance to make a living and be productive members of society.

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  33. This is such an incredible idea. I'm sad and ashamed that I didn't even know this was happening to women in the world. I will definitely be sharing this post around and will try to rally some people to such a worthy cause. Thank you for enlightening me. xo

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  34. Thank-you for highlighting this fantastic initiative. I hope they reach their total. I look forward to following their progress.

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  35. Thank you for sharing this! I wish I could make a donation, but with trying to run our own fundraiser to adopt our family I just cannot right now. Hopefully in the future I will be able to contribute in some way to such an amazing cause!

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    1. Oona, you didn't even mention your sex-change!! Fie!

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    2. i may leave this anon just for that response...

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    3. That, and the obvious truth that "here every stuff is quality based stuff", right?

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  37. Thanks for sharing this. As a widow, it really hit home. I'm in.

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    1. i'm sorry to hear that, susan. thank you for taking part in this.

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  38. Thanks so much for posting this Oona. I'm so happy to contribute. I think this project is something really worthwhile.

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  39. You are a good person Oona, thanks for shinning a light on the situation, I'm in too.

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  40. Amazing. Bravo to them. Thank you for sharing, I'd love to support this.

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  41. brilliant! thanks for the link to contribute. and thanks for the awesome posts always!

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied if not always written!