HOW SEWING NEW FUTURES STARTED
We work within a community in Najafgarh, on the outskirts of New Delhi. Due to the community’s caste status, the people living here are unable to participate in traditional jobs. To survive, families marry off their daughters at puberty. Once married, women and girls are forced into sex work to sustain themselves and their families. Without education or options, these women spend their lives as prostitutes – even paying bride price to their own family.
The Perna community wants to change, but it’s difficult to evolve without knowing another way. Sewing New Futures works with women and children to provide paid training and mentorship as they learn about sewing, appliqué, textiles. With these skills, women gain a sustainable income while applying their creative talent and vision to artisanal work.
Sewing New Futures is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and every purchase you make has a purpose. The money earned goes toward career training, education, medical care, and social services. Most importantly, sales of these goods benefit the women who are brave enough to disregard their cultural norms and refuse a life of prostitution.
You may not think of yourself as an activist, but your support will change lives.
We called Sandhya* our unofficial “office manager” back in 2015. She was one of our first sewing trainees but she hated sewing instead she was always walking around with the office laptop helping the staff with operational tasks. When she was not helping, she had her nose in a book studying or reading a newspaper. One day she came into the center in tears. It was time for her engagement. She was not ready and did not want it to happen. Monika, our social worker met with her family & convinced them that if she passed her 12th grade exams she would be employable and be able to make more money long term (than prostitution). We helped her enroll in NIOS (Open Schooling - it is like a GED in America) we paid her school admission fees, books, and school supplies. Monika met with her family and over time they changed their mind completely on education and we are happy to report she is married now and her husband is fully supportive of her education. She has passed her 12th grad exams!
We recently opened a localized community center where we provide education, health and social services. Sandhya is employed as our teacher helping the next generation of girls & boys learn the importance of education.