Reason #1 - Meet Rinku
Beyond the beauty of India’s cities, the majority of women still suffer in poverty and oppression. Because many females are discouraged from pursuing educated careers, young girls often drop out of school early to help take care of younger siblings. As they become young adults, they are unable to find dignified employment to support themselves.
Many parents in these small traditional villages view marriage as the solution to the financial burden of supporting their daughters. This “practical” solution often results in young women like Rinku becoming trapped in loveless, abusive, or neglectful marriages.
All of her life, Rinku was told she was nothing without a man. When her hopes of finding safety and security through marriage turned to a life of fear and abuse, she fled back to her parents’ home. Four times, she was told she was a burden and sent back with her baby girl to her abusive marriage.
Finally, the fifth time she fled, someone told her about a local community of artisans who trained women how to become financially independent through handcrafting fair-trade products. Rinku’s artisan community taught her sewing skills and helped her learn how to support her family. Rinku’s parents now view her as an asset to their home, instead of a burden.
Inspired and created by the women in Rinku’s artisan community, our Endless Dress is more than beautiful clothing. It is the story of women in India who are creating beauty out of the darkness of poverty, oppression, and abuse.
Reason #2 - Meet Rachna
As a little girl, Rachna’s father suffered from psychological issues that prevented him from being able to work to provide for their family. As a house helper, her mother barely made enough money to feed and clothe Rachna and her siblings. So Rachna dropped out of school in 5th grade to manage the family’s home and care for her brother and sister.
When her father eventually recovered and was able to return to work, Rachna was too old to return to school. Unable to provide for herself, she married young. But when her marriage abruptly ended, she was devastated and fell into a deep depression.
Rachna managed to find work at a leather factory. But after only six months, the factory closed. Without a husband or a way to support herself, Rachna became even more depressed. She felt like she had no purpose and was a burden to her parents… until she joined a local fair-trade artisan community.
Rachna’s artisan community taught her more than how to craft products and become financially independent. They taught her about the dignity of work and encouraged her with an atmosphere of joy and hope.