Happy New Year! 2020 is off to an exciting start for Shakti.ism

five upcycled sari and cotton tote bags laying flat on a wooden table

2019 was very exciting, but 2020 is already shaping up to be a fantastic year for Shakti.ism!

I’d like to share some updates on the progress we’ve made to date:

  • Shakti.ism is officially registered as a not-for-profit community interest company in the UK! The company’s articles state that profits will be reinvested into the beneficiaries and their communities.
  • Production has begun and the first round of products are currently being made in Pondicherry, India by a wonderful group of gypsy women who have been trained to sew (and are incredibly talented).
  • I am hoping to have the first round of products completed in the spring. The items include tote bags, zip pouches, drawstring pouches, and gift wrapping cloths – all made from recycled saris!
  • I have had so many generous women donate their saris for this project. I am extremely grateful to each of them. If you are interested in donating your old saris, please get in touch with me directly.
  • I am off to India in just two weeks, where I will be visiting the Pondicherry (Tamil Nadu) maker group for a few days. I will also be meeting with an NGO in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), which trains and employs people with disabilities such as blindness and mental illness. We will be discussing a potential partnership to sponsor additional sewing trainings for rural villagers with disabilities. I will also make a final stop in Mumbai (Maharashtra), where I will be meeting with several social enterprises and NGOs to discuss potential partnerships.
  • The first ‘reinvestment’ from the business will be to provide 80 women and girls in the Pondicherry gypsy community with India’s first certified compostable sanitary pads. Shakti.ism will initially provide a 6-month supply and I hope that this can be an ongoing reinvestment for the community. I am also going to partner with a local NGO to provide menstrual hygiene training and awareness, as period poverty is a huge problem in India. Over 150 million women in India suffer from period poverty. Some women use cloth or rags with sand, jute or even cow dung, which increases the risk of infections, while many are subjected to social, religious and cultural restrictions during menstruation. Girls miss school due to periods, and up to 70% of reproductive diseases are due to poor menstrual health. Shakti.ism aims to contribute to changing this for the better.
  • Shakti.ism has been approved as a ’cause’ on a corporate social responsibility portal, which facilitates volunteers and workplace giving (sometimes matched by employers!). This portal is used by hundreds of enterprise businesses and some of the biggest tech companies in the world!

There is a lot going on and to say I am excited is a massive understatement. I am grateful to each and every one of you for your support. If you managed to read this far, thank you for that as well 

image of a smiling Shakti.ism artisan in Pondicherry, holding up a bright coloured upcycled sari and cotton tote bag

The Crowdfunder campaign is closed now, but if you are interested in contributing again or know someone who might want to contribute, please use this link: https://www.gofundme.com/manage/2t2zk-she-will-survive

**For those of you that contributed £25 or more, please email your delivery address to hello@shaktiism.com so that I can send you your upcycled sari tote bag when the products have all been completed!

Thank you again.

With gratitude,

Jitna