The Cooperative

Mumbai is a city of contrasts. On the one hand there are skyscrapers, diverse landscapes, speeding traffic and Bollywood films and on the other hand many women and children who go to sleep each night without adequate food, water or shelter.

In a city where according to a 2001 census over half the population lives in the slums, without a skill many people are forced into poverty. The co-op trains the women in sewing and embroidery which provides them with a skill and vital income to help craft a better future.

The women who enter the training program at the co-op are from severely diadvantaged situations, living in poverty. At the training center the women receive instruction in sewing and embroidery. After 6-9 months in the training program they join one of the 18 work groups. The work groups are autonomously run and coordinated by one woman whom is elected by each group.

The coordinator helps to manage the production schedule and tasks. The work groups are supported by the administrative staff who are hired for their qualifications in skills such as bookkeeping, ordering fabric or marketing.
The co-op balances international sales with sales in the domestic market. Orders are filled for the domestic market and for their own store in Bandra, a shopping district in Mumbai. There is also a traveling van which sells the products to neighboring communities. A food delivery program called Asli Foods was established to provide addtional income by selling lunches to the offices surrounding the slum community.

The women are also supported by a number of social services. There is a childcare center, a nursery, an educational sponsorship program for the children of the women from the co-op as well as for the children from the slum community. There is also a savings and credit organization with over 500 members and on-going trainings on topics ranging from HIV/AIDS to basic health care.

The entire co-op meets twice a year for their general assembly meetings to discuss issues pertaining to the entire cooperative. There are also opportunities to come together during celebrations and special events. To read stories profiling the women of the co-op visit our blog where we share their stories!

Your purchase at marigold empowers disadvantaged women make themselves more economically self-sufficient. Thanks for making the world a less unequal place. Thanks for supporting fair trade!

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