ABOUT SAMBHALI: Sambhali Trust is a non-profit organisation based in Jodhpur in the north-west of India, who focus on the development and empowerment of underprivileged women in Rajasthan state through education and vocational skills.

Sambhali Trust produce AK Threads' packaging; we have worked directly with the women there to train them in the manufacture of this product.

Every bag produced provides one worker with a full day’s wage.  By creating a demand for our garments and, in turn, our reusable packaging, we can directly support the women at Sambhali Trust.

The Trust works with women and children from all communities who have experienced discrimination in their daily lives due to their perceived low status in class, caste and gender. Many of these females are greatly oppressed: with little or no access to education, they often face high levels of verbal and physical abuse within their family circle and community. Sambhali was founded in 2007 to combat this situation and to empower these women.

At centres operated by the Trust, women are trained in English language, embroidery and sewing, thus enabling them to gain an income independently. At the same time, the Trust provides healthcare and counselling, a safe space and a sense of sisterhood, helping the women gain self-confidence and dignity.

OUR JOURNAL: Having worked previously with Sambhali production centre prior to setting up AK Threads, I the founder was keen to head back and work with the females there to utilise and support their skills and provide them with an additional income. We spend two days with the females from both production centres, training them personally to create our bags, drink chai, catch up and discuss future prospects.

I was beyond excited to get back to Sambhali and be reunited the women whom called themselves my sisters. I had decided to surprise them on my return to the centre, to which I was greeted with hugs and tears and over whelming happiness. It felt amazing, it felt like being home.

The women here are all so lively and passionate about the work they do, they come not only to earn themselves a wage but also for the sisterhood that the centre brings, they laugh with one another, empower each other and discuss their daily difficulties. It’s an outlet where they’re able to be an individual in a safe space away from the patriarchal system still very prevalent in Jodhpur, a rural desert city in Rajasthan, India.

Here I love the freedom they gain with the space they've been given which enables them to become an individual with other women around them, they're bold, they talk with conviction on their position as a female and they chase goals. They are a generation of women, learning and teaching their children that the system can and should be different. 

The females here welcomed me back in like i'd never left, inviting us over for dinner at each of their homes.  There’s something really special about the connections the Sambhali women here have, they’re soft, kind and will give so much which is amazing knowing the tribulations they’ve been through with families, their in-laws and marriage. I adore that through clothing production and supporting communities it's been possible to have a strong connection with other cultures and females too.  

These women were the inspiration for AK Threads to start, it’s were I began to understand and value the makers behind products. I see the time, attention and detail that each employee puts into her work and I see the impact that it has on the women not only finically but their wellbeing too. 

I feel so strongly about this organisation and about all the females as individuals, that we will continue to support this organisation.Every bag produced provides one worker with a full day’s wage.  By creating a demand for our garments and, in turn, our reusable packaging, we can directly support the women at Sambhali Trust.

By Gracie, AK Threads founder - Thoughts on the production trip to Sambhali in April 18.


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