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Monday, February 20, 2017

Inspiration:How Waste Fabric Became a Tool for Women’s Empowerment

A digital professional by day, Tanushri Shukla had been observing a daily occurrence in her family’s garment production company. Here, at the end of each day, kilos of fabric ended up in the waste bin. Seeing so much go to waste, Tanushri thought of transforming such scrap, known as ‘chindi’ in the tailoring community, into something beautiful and useful. 

After toying with the idea for a long time, she finally decided to turn it into reality and launched Chindi – a Mumbai-based enterprise that works with marginalised women to help them earn a living through crafts.
Started with an idea to empower women and make them financially independent in a way which is also creatively satisfying, Chindi “helps transform women from marginalised neighbourhoods into financially independent craftswomen, by promoting skills they already have and providing further skills training.”
“They create handmade, ethical products by upcycling waste — primarily textile production waste from t-shirt factories and sewing units,” says Tanushri.

Chindi, which began in 2015, works with women from Mankhurd, where they have set up the Chindi Women’s Centre. The women belong to a community of migrants from north India who are exceptional with crafts like knitting and crocheting – skills they lost touch with after relocating to the Maximum City. The craftswomen are given training and provided support at the centre. 

Our sewing unit is in Mankhurd and we had employed some women for handwork from the community. They introduced me to their neighbours who became our first team of craftswomen,” Tanushri says. “It’s easy to say do work and you’ll get paid. It’s hard to get quality, ask them to take time away from their housework and home duties, and hardest to convince their families to let them do this. Otherwise they are all mostly housewives,” she continues.
 

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