Tag Archives: India

Sudara: Bringing An End To Sex Trafficking, One Step At A Time

Sex trafficking – such a small phrase with so much behind it. It’s easy to dismiss it as something unrelated to us, when we are cocooned in our small, safe world. But it’s a reality for many young girls and women who are forced into prostitution of their own free will. It’s hard to say how many people exactly have been affected this way, but according to Equality Now, more than 20.9 million people worldwide are victims of trafficking, with 54% of them being exploited for sex. This is more than just discomforting, when we think of slavery as a thing of the past – but the truth is that victims of sex trafficking are victims of slavery.

Image: Guardian Liberty Voice

So why is this still happening around the world today? Although trafficking of all kinds has been criminalised in 158 countries, it continues to be a prevailing issue, especially in developing countries where young girls are easily coerced into the trade, with false promises of a brighter future. Sometimes it is not the young children who are lured into prostitution, but their own families who sell them into the sex trade, seeing no other alternative for financial support. But how can we help? We may know all the statistics behind this horrifying truth, but what is knowledge without action? Thankfully, the answer to this question is not as hard as we may think. Shannon Keith, founder of Sudara, has created a clothing brand which supports women who have been sexually exploited, teaching them skills which enable them to support themselves and move away from the sex industry.

Image: Sudara

Keith recounts her visit to India in 2005 which propelled her into establishing Sudara; she had heard story upon story about women being coerced into the sex trade, through no fault of their own. Many girls came from rural areas, and only had knowledge in the agricultural field. However, as a result of natural disasters, this future no longer became an option for them, and their lack of education and skills in other areas set them up at high risk to be picked up by local pimps or even to enter the industry themselves as they saw no other choice.

Keith decided to set out to partner with sewing centres in India, which could provide victims with the basic skills a seamstress needed, as well as a safe environment where they could earn a stable income for themselves and their families. That was how the Punjammies® line was born. The classic yet cute loungewear has all been lovingly sewn by victimised women, and since its beginnings more than ten years ago, Sudara has been empowering women to live a life free from sexual exploitation. Women are able to gain back their confidence and self-esteem, and some have even moved on to start their own business with the skills they have learnt, or have found meaningful jobs where they can re-build their lives.

Image: Sudara

By purchasing from Sudara, we can also help battle against sex trafficking and support the livelihood of these victimised individuals. If you would like to go one step further, donations are welcome when checking out on the website. All donations go towards the Sudara Freedom Fund, a not-for-profit branch which creates a pathway for the women and girls to get back into school or a training program that can equip them for the future. The fund also goes into providing education for the children of the women, as well as safe housing for those escaping abuse, and services for the mental and physical wellbeing of the women.

Sex trafficking is still a massive issue and may at times seem overwhelming, but by taking small steps even in the way we purchase, we can battle it together and bring awareness to the cause. And maybe, even one day, it will end. For good.

 

Written by: Tiffany Ko

Sources:

https://www.equalitynow.org/sex-trafficking-fact-sheet
https://www.sudara.org/pages/our-story
https://www.newsdeeply.com/womenandgirls/articles/2017/05/08/breaking-the-cycle-of-human-trafficking-in-india-with-education

 

The Evolution of Indian Fashion

The Designers at the Forefront of Indian Fashion

The elixir of fashion is an interesting concoction of different ideas, philosophies and endless research that results in a breathtaking creation by a designer. Every designer has got a different story to put forth through their designs and bring a difference in the world of fashion. The B behind the Bollywood Boom Fashion industry of India are designers, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Anamika Khanna, Hemant and Nandita’s.

Sabyasachi Mukherjee crafted an unparalleled world of grandeur in the Indian fashion industry with his perpetual creativity and an exceptional aesthetic sense. Eponymously named, the label ‘Sabyasachi’ is a pure reflection of the richness of Indian heritage, grandness, culture and crafts. His collections have also displayed glimpses of his admiration for Frida Kahlo, antique textiles, gypsy fantasies and Bohemian flair. Redefining fashion with his flamboyant designs and meticulously crafted embroidery, while revitalising the forgotten weaves with a modernistic approach. His couture shows are an affair of extravagance and innovation. Sabyasachi is every celebrity and every bride’s favourite one-stop destination for creations ranging from the ethereal iconic pieces to simple black outfits.

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Sabyasachi Mukherjee luxury bridal collection 2016 Image Credit: Pintrest
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The iconic Frida Image credit: Pintrest

Designer Anamika Khanna sets the mood of the Egyptian aura with her collections. The reiteration of dhoti pants has besotted every ‘it girl’ to have it as their wardrobe staple. The designer’s famous black and white rendition manifests in a beautiful chiaroscuro effect and her take on long fluid like capes, unique sari draping techniques, slouched outfits have made a phenomenal mark on the fashion scene. Khanna’s designs have a classic and edgy appeal. The subtlety of the embroidery and her love for monochromes and pastels reflects an essence of pure romance.

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Anamika Khanna Brings the blue to FW 2016 Image credit: Pintrest
Sonam Kapoor at the Cannes Film Festival wearing Anamika Khanna's couture
Sonam Kapoor at the Cannes Film Festival wearing Anamika Khanna’s couture Image credit: Amazon India

Designer duo Hemant and Nandita have brought a significant dimension to fun, free spirited and relaxed clothing. Their colour play sensibilities are marked by an essence of whimsical, charming and quirky impressions, which make their designs stand out from others. The depiction of their design philosophy in terms of Bohemian, folk and retro genre exudes their interest in rural and mod culture of fashion. The duo’s vivacious creations ranging from maxis to minis are pretty much every young girl’s desire to have hanging in their wardrobe.

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Hemant & Nandita’s collections at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week SS15 Image credit: Amazon India

Written by Sameena Baig

Biodegrade is great, but..

Edible is better

India is a majestic place full of a mysterious paradoxes, bindi bearing brides, pastel painted elephants, home of the samosa and now the most polluted place on the planet.

According to recent NASA satellite data India has now topped Chinas pollution levels for the first time in the 21st century.

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Photo: Manan Vastsyayana

Even though it is culturally common in India to eat with your hands, 120 billion pieces of disposable cutlery are thrown away every year. Worldwide, this becomes a figure at 16 times this magnitude. As plastic is composed of major toxic pollutants it has the potential to cause great harm to the environment in the form of air, water and land pollution.

Fed up with this major plastic waste stream, groundwater researcher, Narayana Peesapaty created an innovative edible cutlery company, Bakeys. The edible spoons are full vegan, preservative free, trans fat free and operate of principles of fair trade. Made of millet, rice and wheat they are free from genetically modified organisms (GMO). Their lack of water, moisture or fat allows them a shelf life of up to 3 years without the need for extra preservatives (whilst still remaining their crispness)With India’s favourite spices (ginger-cinnamon, ginger-garlic, cumin, celery, black pepper, mint-ginger, and carrot-beet) the spoons come in sweet, savoury and plain to suit every meal. They are not only environmentally friendly but ‘tasty, fun and highly nutritious’ says Peesapaty.

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Photo: Kickstarter Campaign

Whilst biodegrade products are seemingly a step towards a zero waste future, there benefits are many times negated.

Corn and sugar crops currently used for biodegradables require extreme heat and very specific conditions to properly degenerate. Whereas Bakeys Edible Cutlery don’t require specific conditions and if not eaten will break down within 3-4 days in any outside environment. In concord due to the large quantity(presence) of millets used, the spoon itself does not degrade within liquids and can withstand a hot bowl soup, your favourite butter chicken curry, ice cream or tea.

Peespaty develops his business in correlation with growing environmental problems. Debunking the “conventionally known fact that environmental safeguarding and social responsibility rarely integrate with sound business process”.

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Photo: Kickstarter Campaign

Peespatys decision to use millets as his primary product is not only due to their incredibly nutritious benefits but millets are known for flourishing in the worlds most arable land. Millets requiring far fewer nutrients and water for cultivation allows environmentally friendly farming on a massive scale. Peespaty cites, ‘of the energy it takes to produce 1 plastic utensil, we can produce 100 sorghum(millet) based spoons’, in comparisons to corn (biodegrade crop) they are able to make 50.

Peesapaty states “for Bakeys Foods, environmental and social amelioration is the business”.

As an attempt to raise funds for mass production Sarah Muir for Bakeys created a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. Pledging a goal of $20 000 to compete with the prevalence of plastic. Plastic is widely used due its longevity and affordability. However Peespaty feels ‘with mass production he will be able to make his spoons just as cheap’. Peespaty believes that the ‘change is inevitable’ but before this change can ‘overtake and overwhelm us, we should be instruments of change’.

Since launching in Hyderbad India 2011, Bakeys have sold over 40,000 spoons yet Bakeys business ambitions reach far beyond the realm of spoons. With their plan to expand into a whole new line of table wear, including edible plates, cups, forks and chopsticks.

A collection completely waste free, nutritious and environmentally friendly!

Que the cutlery evolution!

Written by Bridget McDonnell