Meet the Independence sari tote bag!
These vibrant one-of-a-kind repurposed sari shopping bags are meticulously handcrafted by empowered artisan makers in Pondicherry, India. They're gorgeous, hand-printed with natural inks on both sides, one side proclaims "This bag provides economic independence for a woman in India" and the other side says Shakti.ism in bold and beautiful Hindi script. Each bag has a hanging inner side pocket made from the same sari used for the exterior of the bag. The handle for each bag is also made from the same sari - creating a beautiful reusable tote bag from repurposed sari cloth.
The makers earn fair wages for making these bags, so your purchase directly impacts the lives of disadvantaged women! Each set of bags is made from the off-cuts of one sari, so colours and patterns may vary depending on which piece of the sari was used.
Our saris are from all over India and beyond, which means we have a wide variety of patterns and traditions represented. Many were generously donated especially for this social initiative. Because every sari is unique, each product has its own story and is truly one-of-a-kind. Most saris are comprised of multiple colours and patterns intended to compliment each other when draped, which is why no two items made from the same sari are the same. Colours and patterns may vary from the photographs, depending on which part of the sari was used. Some finished items have minor imperfections, which makes them even more charming and distinctive.
Meet the artisans. The Pondicherry Shakti.ism tailoring team members are from the semi-nomadic Narikuravar “gypsy” tribal community in Southern India. This indigenous group of people has faced discrimination against them since ancient times, primarily because of their nomadic lifestyle and consumption of animals, considered taboo by Hindus and upper-caste communities within India. The gypsy communities of India sit at the absolute bottom of society, even below the caste system. Poverty, illiteracy, diseases and discrimination are the major issues that confront the Narikuravars. Girls within the community are often married off once they begin to menstruate and many of them become mothers when they are as young as 14 years old.
The institutionalised social stigma faced by indigenous and tribal communities across India continues to be the force of oppression that keeps them trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty.
By purchasing this item, you are helping to empower and provide ongoing employment income for the women who make these handmade products. The demand for Shakti.ism’s products provides these women with dignified employment, a living wage, hope and opportunities for their children. Together we can provide alternative options for disadvantaged women with the aim to lift them out of poverty and help them to become self-sustaining and independent.
Handmade by empowered women in Pondicherry, India.
Dimensions. 30 cm width x 38 cm length with 35 cm handle drop (12 in width x 15 in length with 14 in handle drop)
Care. Gently hand wash in cold water. Hang or lay flat to air dry.