Thursday, April 28, 2005
ANKUR KALA: sowing seeds of hope for women
We went to a huge wholesale market area in the city to find smaller jars to begin the project. Next we talked about labeling with a professional designer and soon we hope to have a finished product that will be marketed at SASHA for Contemporary Living, an elegant fair trade boutique on Free School Street.
Along with vocational training in various crafts like batik, tie and dye, stitching, embroidery, catering, etc. women at ANKUR KALA are trained in production, research and business skills. They are also given regular educational, social and spiritual inputs which help them to become self-confident and positive.
All the women are given a monthly stipend and are encouraged to open bank accounts and make regular savings. This is an important step in their lives and in most cases this is their first step towards achieving self-reliance.
Once the women have completed their training, they are given the option to start their own production units or to work from home and earn an income fromt he sale of their handicrafts. Some of the owmen are also offered further leadership trinaing as supervisors to teach and guide trainees. Many women have grown into strong leaders who not only teach and train but also regularly network with other women's groups on different issues.
I have gained a lot of knowledge and inspiration working on this project with women at ANKUR KALA and I highly recommend their products: lemon squash fruit concentrate and jams are favorites. For people living abroad, you can find ANKUR KALA products at Ten Thousand Villages shops.