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indiadesignid / June 11, 2020

Skilled Samaritan Foundation is a network of 102 incredible women who have broken cultural barriers to hand make home, fashion and lifestyle products

Skilled Samaritan Foundation is a social enterprise initiated in 2012 by Gauri Gopal Malik, that provides income opportunities to hundreds of women from rural communities in the Muzaffarnagar district. Starting with just one woman in a region where women are discouraged from work, the foundation now has a network of 102 incredible women from 3 villages, who have broken cultural barriers to use their existing skill-sets to hand make home, fashion and lifestyle products. They employ the charpai style of weaving with ropes made of industrial plastic packaging waste, textile waste and recycled cotton locally generated in the region, to craft functional objects that they hope will make people slow down and reminiscence the simplicity of the past, while slowly composing the story of their own futures.

The foundation identifies and supports women communities who have unique/undiscovered craftsman skills but were never ‘artisans’ and work closely with them to create marketable products.  As more women approached them for income and training opportunities, the organisation also aims to set up a Skill Lab(s) (Common Facility Centre) in the proximity of 5 villages, where each Skill Lab can house almost 350 women, who can work in a clean and safe working environment, close to their homes. With 235 villages in Muzaffarnagar District, they have the potential of creating income opportunities for over 1 million employable women.. and that is just the beginning!

Skilled Samaritan also provides training, workshop facilities and designs from in-house designers, to develop high quality premium home décor and fashion accessories that are marketed to an urbane and global audience, using online and offline sales channels. Most of these products are made from waste/salvaged textiles and multi-layer industrial packaging waste so the products are sustainable in nature, thereby encouraging responsible production and consumption patterns, and also strongly contributing to a circular economy.

The organisation also collaborates in creating installations for various exhibitions, bespoke orders and brand partnerships. They were also finalist at Lakme Fashion Week’s‘Circular Design Challenge,’ for which they had created a luxe collection of functional macrame bags made from textile and food packaging waste. (Images of this can be viewed in the carousel above)

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