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 three villages who have broken cultural barriers to using 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 reminisce about the simplicity of the past while slowly composing the story of their futures.

The foundation identifies and supports women’s communities who have unique and undiscovered craftsman skills but were never “artisans” and works closely with them to create marketable products. As more women approached them for income and training opportunities, the organisation also aimed to set up a Skill Lab (Common Facility Centre) in the proximity of five villages, where each lab could house almost 350 women who could work in a clean and safe environment close to their homes. With 235 villages in Muzaffarnagar District, they have the potential to create income opportunities for over one 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 urban and global audience using online and offline sales channels. Most of these products are made from waste or salvaged textiles and multi-layer industrial packaging waste, so they are sustainable, thereby encouraging responsible production and consumption patterns and also strongly contributing to a circular economy. The organisation also collaborates on creating installations for various exhibitions, bespoke orders, and brand partnerships. They were also finalists at Lakme Fashion Week’s “Circular Design Challenge,” for which they created a luxe collection of functional macramé bags made from textile and food packaging waste.