India, Social Media and Sewing Machines for Widows:Blogging from Coimbatore
Radio Netherlands: "There are more than 40 million widows in India - 10 percent of the country's female population. And for the majority of these women, life is what some have described as a "living sati", a reference to the now outlawed practice of widow burning."
Enter Nicki and Kria.
Blog Entry: Late January: BostontoBindis
"Thursday night Nicki and I sat in front of a group of about fifty widows and single women. They sang for us, covered our shoulders in white shawls, had us light a candle and tossed sweet flower petals over our heads. Several of the Sisters explained to them in Tamil, how far we’d traveled in the hopes of bringing them support and opportunity. Their language is poetic and inspiring, speaking about the seed of this project taking root and the light of God directing us."
Months ago, these two bright 30-something professional women took a deep look at the "way of women in India." Especially the country's widows, and were disturbed. And angry.
They were also moved to do something that wasn't just "feel good," but would teach some of these widows to sew, and produce a line of organic, fair-trade children's dresses. They would create a cooperative together, a business that would benefit the women there, and the two entrepreneurs here.
The stuff of Fast Company. Entrepreneurism, with a heart and Social Media plan?
They took a quite a few bucks and went to India.
They managed the chaos, colors and perpetual motion of Mumbai, and flew onward to Coimbatore, the south of India (Tamill-Nadu)
They traveled with the faith and good wishes of their family and friends.
They packed weeks of research with them, and put Social Media platforms in place to share their story.
They took a couple of terrific dress samples made by Kria's mom.
And they had email exchanges with contacts in the Franciscan convent in Coimbatore.
Blog entry. Early February: BostontoBindis:
"Our goal is twofold: to help establish The Women of a New Era sewing cooperative and to become their first client by commissioning them to produce an environmentally responsible children’s clothing line that will be sold in the United States."
Kria and Nicki have jobs. They work for a prestigious global health organizations in the States, a mission-driven nonprofit with a strong history of delivering medical and humanitarian services in Haiti and Africa.
But this was their personal and business mission: Organic, fair-trade children's clothes made by widows with little futures.Continued on the next page