Sudha’s story and the importance of women’s empowerment

One of the core principles we are proud of here at The Ethical Silk Company is our commitment to being, well, ethical - as ethical as possible in our production of silk (check out last weeks blog, with our in depth look at Ahimsa Silk) and also in our tailoring. The Presentation Sisters in Theni, South India run our current tailoring unit. They direct a Women's Federation, which aims to empower women by organising them into self-help groups. This unit, the Nano Nagle Tailoring Unit, is where The Ethical Silk Company products are made.

The Nano Nagle Tailoring Ladies

The Nano Nagle Tailoring Ladies

Last year, I received some fantastic news and it is something that really reminded me of the reason why we chose to work with this organisation. One of our tailoring ladies, Sudha, had opened up her own tailoring shop in Theni itself! Sudha had previously been involved in making our products over the last 3 years and to say she was sorely missed is an understatement – as well as doing a fantastic job for us, I had the pleasure of personally meeting this lovely lady during my initial trip to India.

But despite this, I can’t help but feel like we have achieved something fantastic. By giving this woman the tools to empower herself, she has made it possible to become self-sufficient and provide for her family – not to mention the potential to create opportunities for others, as Sudha has also employed two other women who were at the centre! The flip side of this is that we’re looking to have our products tailored in another Fairtrade tailoring unit. The ladies in Theni are so busy with their own work and business that it’s getting difficult to maintain the production of the tailoring shop, the tailoring unit's work, and the increasing demand for The Ethical Silk Company products. Rather than compromise their growing business we’re looking to relocate our tailoring.

Sudha while at work in the Nano Nagel tailoring unit, 2009

Sudha while at work in the Nano Nagel tailoring unit, 2009

Sudha's story is an example of the good we can do as consumers by making more ethical purchases and supporting Fair trade companies around the globe who do great work to ensure workers are treated fairly.

Although I was very sorry these ladies are no longer working on our products, the whole aim of working with the Women’s Federation was essentially to promote women’s empowerment. What better way to show accomplishments of reaching this goal than a brand new local business, run by a woman, that employs local ladies.

Hearing news like this really lifts the spirits and from all of us here at The Ethical Silk Company, we wish Sudha and the ladies in Theni all the best in their growing business.

Eva