Embroidery, it may sound like a bit of a boring hobby to some of us. But in India and Bangladesh it can be a skill of vital importance. In Bengal embroidering with the traditional kantha stitch is passed from mother to daughter. They traditionally make kantha quilts for their families using this technique. We use this skill together with a local NGO of keep women out of slavery.
Slavery is still a big problem, in India and Bangladesh a lot of people are victims of forced labour. A specifically venomous form of slavery is the selling of young women to the sex industry. Tulsi Crafts cooperates with an organisation that tackles this problems in many ways. Unfortunately when these women are freed, but don’t have an income, they have a big chance of being trafficked again.
We work with the employment team to create income, so the women can actually build a new life. That’s where the embroidery comes in. With the traditional kantha stitch vintage saris are stitched together to become kantha quilts. The women work for two to ten days on a quilt and get a fair price for their work. When they work fulltime this work generates more than enough income to live on. The women also make kantha sari scarves for Tulsi Crafts.
The beauty in this lies in the fact that the makers build their new lives stitch by stitch, while also giving a new lease of life to vintage saris. You see the time and love that they’ve put into the quilts, blankets and scarves. Made from stylish chic silk or vibrant cotton, these throws and scarves lend a colourful touch. Each kantha quilt and each scarf is one of a kind.
Take a look at all products the women make for us here.
Read more about the position of women in India & Bangladesh here.