Small acts of kindness: Support a women’s sewing circle

Ever so often, when I write out a cheque to NGOs like WWF or Cry, I wonder about the smaller NGOs that are doing excellent work but that I know nothing about. Rather than supporting these larger, globally established NGOs, I prefer to support smaller organizations that are doing excellent work in their areas. The problem, especially in a country like India, is in finding NGOs that do genuine work.

One of the NGOs we support every year is Asha Bhavan, which is doing excellent work to rehabilitate drug addicts. Recently, I learnt of another NGO – Project Why – from my friends Damyanti and Ishieta. Project Why was started by Anouradha Bakshi in 2000 with 40 slum children who wanted to learn spoken English and a handful of volunteers. It slowly expanded to include women’s empowerment initiatives, so the slum dwellers could support themselves and their children. Since 2007, over a 1,000 women have been trained at the women’s center sewing circle, including Renu, the sewing teacher.

Support a women's sewing circle

Renu’s story

Six years ago, when she joined Project Why, Renu had lost her home and incurred huge debts. Her husband got retrenched after an incapacitating work accident. After joining the Project Why sewing class, she started taking small jobs at home. She then grew into the role of the sewing teacher and began taking pride in her students.

She is now paying back her debts and knows that she holds the key to her future in her hands. Her children study at the after-school support classes run by Project Why.

Today Renu is looking at developing the skills of her students through a six-month program. This will enable them to find employment in the garment industry.

 To this end, Project Why needs the following:

Iron 1000/
Interlocking machine 4400/
Pico machine 5600/
Ironing board 2000/
Cutting table 4000/
6 month salary for Renu 60,000/
Total amount needed: 77,000/

How you can help

Project Why is currently running a fundraiser on Ketto.org to raise the funds for Renu’s sewing circle. Your donations can help this bunch of hard-working women to find employment and give then a chance to take control of their own lives. You can donate in different currencies like USD and pounds – just change the currency at the top right of the screen.

Women are true agents of change and helping them find the means to earn a livelihood would go a long way in transforming the lives of their families. At Project Why, Renu and her students not only practice sewing but also learn to read and write. When women are empowered, domestic violence drops, and the next generation finds access to better education.

Please do consider donating even a small amount – maybe the cost of a coffee or meal. Your support will go a long way in empowering Renu, so she can help women like herself. No amount is too small, and every little bit would help make Renu’s dreams become a reality! Donate here: Ketto.org

Your donation is 50% tax deductible under section 80G {in India}, and the entire expense account would be put up on the Project Why website once the amount is raised.

You can read the Project Why story at www.projectwhy.org

Posted in Scrambled Thoughts.

8 Comments

  1. Thanks for this post, Shinjhini!

    Hope you’ll join the Project Why fam and help us carry out our work online and off. I’ve worked with them for years now, and they do need local support.

  2. Hear about all this from Damyanti and Shalini of Shalzmojo. I am happy to note that even a small drop like Rs. 50 will help. With the widespread publicity this venture is getting I’m sure this sewing circle will survive.

  3. I am truly inspired by Damyanti for being the torchbearer of this NGO and happy to see the blogging family so their but for Project Why.

    I had gone and visited 3 of their centres and was totally blown away by the dedication and sheer determination of the volunteers here.

    If you find the time, I would urge you to go and spend sometime at any one centre and talk to them – it inspired me to do lot more than I had intended.

    Thank you for sharing the story -it’s brought about awareness for a very well deserved cause.

    • I heard about Project Why from Damyanti recently. I will try to go visit one of their centres, though I’m not too sure when I’ll be able to make that happen. I am quite blown away by everything that Damyanti & Ishieta shared about the organisation and about Anuradha. I hope we can support Project Why beyond just this sewing circle. They’re doing some wonderful work!

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