The DIR Monthly Report for June includes one of two recent articles in leading newspapers (The Indian Express and Dainik Bhaskar) featuring DIR. Here is one, translated from the Hindi by DIR staff.
Slum Women Demonstrate Remarkable Talent
Some of the women who live in the poorest slum areas of Naya Gaon are learning to make cloth products under the guidance of Developing Indigenous Resources (DIR). This organization (whose chief function is improving health conditions) provides beautiful cloth samples to the stitchers, teaches them how to make products, which sell, and then buys back the finished products from the women. DIR markets the finished articles, earns profit, and then donates 100% of this profit to help support their free medical programme.
What do the women Sew? A variety of fine cloth products, evening purses, pencil and pen holders, “wine bags”( which serve a re-usable gift-wrap for a bottle of wine brought to a friend’s party), protective bags for smart phones, and their most popular item, shoulder bags for I-pads.
Some of seamstresses are economically so poor that they do not even have toilets in their homes. However, they have enough talent and passion. Their bags and covers receive love and praise from customers and from people who get the products as gifts. The Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Frederick Shaw of Developing Indigenous Resources showed us around their rented building, where in addition to all their medical activities, DIR runs a pre-primary English medium school that prepares slum children to be successful in Chandigarh’s most elite schools.
Frederick Shaw told us his big regret about the sewing project is that DIR lacks a marketing department, and the talented women can now make products faster than DIR can sell them.