Artisan Impact: St. Mary's Mahila Shikshan Kendra
St. Mary's Mahila Shikshan Kendra supports poor families in a slum pocket of Ahmedabad; many are landless laborers from rural areas who migrate to the city in search of a better life. Your purchase gives women in these families the opportunity to earn steadier employment and fair wages for their hand-crafted embroidery.
Committed to identifying with the poorest sections of society since 1970, St. Mary's was started by Dominican nuns who had arrived in Ahmedabad, an industrial city of textile mills, to open a hospital. When the textile mills closed in the 1980s, many men lost their jobs, leaving women to become the sole breadwinners for their families. Concerned with their economic and physical well-being, the nuns organized a sewing and embroidery center where Hindu, Muslim, and Christian women could work together using traditional skills to create works of art. Today St. Mary's teaches a two-year course in embroidery and stitching, enabling women to be hired in their production center. In addition to fair wages, surplus profits and dividends are shared with all 350 workers. Health programs, as well as savings and loan programs are available, and the organization ensures that women send their children to school to avoid child labor.