Firstly before we get started I want to introduce you to a woman I’ve met recently called Shalini Dutta (to the right of the picture below)
And Ambuzwadi slum which is one of the slums in Mumbai.
Shalini, a qualified engineer based in Mumbai, originally started out with a group of friends all of whom were artists and engineers like herself, putting on exhibitions to fund healthcare schemes within Ambuzwadi slum.
Since then she has started an ethical social business which works to empower women from the slums through employing them.
Women’s roles within India is still under development shall we say. The middle class is emerging and seemingly quite quickly and this is breaching the class divide between the wealthiest and the poorest, with which comes certain social behavioural changes, such as gender equality becoming increasingly the norm (although there’s still some way to go with the varying caste differences).
I’ve heard various stories that have emanated from the places I’ve visited but the most frequently heard is physical abuse from an often drunken husband, something which is very much the case regarding the women Shalini works with.
She has since August 2012, so only recently, started employing women from her local slum Ambujwadi to create handmade arts and crafts gifts.
Her products, all mainly designed by her initially and then taught to the women she employs include designs for…
– Envelopes – 25 rupees (30p)
– Lanterns – 650/700 rupees (£7.50/ £8.17)
– Paper folders – 100 rupees (£1.17)
– Luxury gift bags for stores – 40/70 rupees (46p/82p)
– Sketchpads – 450 rupees (£5.25)
And Mugs and Picture Frames (price not set)
All of which are made from recyclable materials. (Prices per item)
See the range of products below…
If anyone would like to source any of these products for themselves or to talk to Shalini further regarding sourcing them for their store/company then feel free to get in touch with me and I’ll put you through.
Since taking off with these products and the ever increasing appeal of ethically sourced or socially empowering enterprise created goods Shalini has continued to give back, with a big percentage of the profits gong into other social development and wellbeing programmes and initiatives around Mumbai including the following…
Funded alternate source of employment for families
Funded alternate source of electricity in homes without it
Funded football team of low income classrooms
Funded the treatment of critically ailing people
It’s small but expanding initiatives like this, of which there are seemingly a growing amount, which are the bread and butter of the India I know so far. They’re often lead by people determined to see an equal and flourishing country develop and long may it continue.