We’ve partnered with Sewing New Futures for the past year, but it was long before that that I purchased my first scarf from them. Not only was I drawn to their beautiful patterns and attention to detail (like the adorable little bird stitched into the corner of each of their scarves), but I was also inspired by the mission behind this company. Sewing New Futures is so much more than beautiful products. We are honored to carry their scarves, kimonos, and pillows in our shop and would love to take this opportunity to share with you the heart behind this amazing company.
If you’re a woman in the Perna community of Najafgarh, South West Delhi, you’ll marry at the age of 14 and after having your first child, you’ll be forced into prostitution. In this area, that’s the normal way to provide for yourself and your family, even paying your own bride price. Discovering this reality became the catalyst for one of our partners, Sewing New Futures, to launch. SNF offers women of this community an alternative option by giving them training, employment, education, and medical care. The women who handcraft these goods are then paid for each product they produce. Priya* is just one such woman whose life has been changed for the better because of SNF.
Until she came to Sewing New Futures as a teenager, Priya assumed prostitution was her lot in life. When all the women in your family are prostitutes, you don’t think you have many options. But now, along with many others in New Dehli, Priya has been offered a choice. It was this fundamental shift in her life that began a track which made it possible for her to run a boutique at her house, living freely with her son.
Priya began training at Sewing New Futures’ center in her teens, and soon after, received a scholarship to attend a seamstress course at a nearby college. She quickly became trained and independent, and has now become for others what she was in need of herself: a leader. She’s taught tailoring classes, managed patterns, and assisted with quality control in the center. Her example has given hope to other young women who come to SNF in the same position.
Her sewing career has flourished as she has expanded beyond their center and formed her own business. But Priya’s story does not end there. She’s also used her opportunities to lead her younger sisters toward a future of freedom and possibilities. They’d both been forced to drop out of high school for marriage, but now they’re actively involved in skills training at Sewing New Futures. Most importantly, all three of these women have been released from forced prostitution. The assumption for a girl’s life in this one little family has been turned on its head.
Sewing New Futures shares, “Words cannot express how excited we are to see Priya independent and fortunate enough to have evaded forced prostitution through skills training. Support from shops like yours make this project and its success stories possible.”
Photo credit to Dania Vargas
To hear more from SNF, check out this video in which its founder, Kristin Braddock, shares her story.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy