This group of women in Raj has famous clients including Dutch Queen
By Archana Sharma
Jaipur, October 10 (IANS): A small village in Rajasthan, Bhikamkor, is scripting a great story of sustainability, courtesy of Saheli Women, a non-profit organization operating here, whose impact can be seen with the Queen of the Netherlands and other global celebrities posing for a photo wearing beautiful dresses made by this group.
The NGO, led by Madhu Vaishnav and made up of a team of around 80 women, caters to international clients and partners with international fashion brands to produce clothing, accessories and housewares aimed at empower women through skills development to create meaningful livelihood opportunities.
Its popularity is such that the Queen of the Netherlands was seen wearing a dress made by this NGO in 2020.
Recently, another celebrity, Livia Firth, an enduring activist and wife of actor Colin Firth, was also seen showing off a dress made by the group.
Livia, on her Instagram account, said: “I am honored to wear the story of Bharti, the woman who made this dress @_saheliwomen? The way through the supply.”
NGO founder Madhu Vaishnav says, âIt doesn’t matter who wears our dresses, but what we want is for them to understand Indian looms and the efforts of the people who make them. This solves our goal, in fact many other celebrities have worn our dresses. “
At Saheli Women, team members are allowed to work their vacation, working hours and work pace. The Orthodox work model is not suitable for Indian women, especially village women because they have children, animals, families to care for. Hence the freedom given to women to work as they choose, says Madhu.
Sharing her story, she says, âI went to UC Berkeley for a degree and then when I came back six years ago I signed up with an NGO and analyzed how we can develop a community with strength. . Little by little, things started to take shape and we moved forward. “
When asked what motivated her to continue her education, she said: âWhen my children were young, I wanted to go to higher education. Although I came from a middle class family, my dreams were big. I took the eligibility test, passed it, left my kids with my in-laws, and went to the United States. I didn’t know English, but I learned it gradually. “
Saheli started working with women who emigrated from Pakistan. These were women who had no opportunity after arriving in India and needed support. They have an income now.
Saheli (meaning friend) has grown from just five women to around 80 artisans working together. âIt’s more than a community, it’s like a family,â says Madhu.