What is Anchal?
Anchal is a non-profit 501c(3) social enterprise that addresses the exploitation of women around the world by using design thinking to create employment opportunities, services and products that support empowerment. When you purchase Anchal's one-of-a-kind products, you empower women with economic stability, community, confidence and restoration of self-worth.
What does anchal mean?
In hindi, the word “anchal” refers to the edge of a sari used to provide comfort and protection to loved ones.
What does Anchal do?
Through our artisan program, Anchal provides alternative careers in textile design and production to exploited and marginalized women in India. Anchal works directly with female commercial sex workers who are seeking a way out of the trade.
What does Anchal's future look like?
Expansion! We believe our model can be replicated around the world. Our first initiative outside of India is dyeScape located in Louisville, Kentucky.
What is the sex trade?
The sex trade, also known as the sex industry, refers to commercial businesses related to the sale and purchase of a wide range of sex related activities, including prostitution.
What is a “commercial sex worker”?
A person who works in the sex trade, sometimes referred to as a prostitute. There are a wide range of entry routes into sex work, ranging from “voluntary” entry, “semi-voluntary” based on pressure of circumstances, and “involuntary” recruitment via outright force or coercion.
Who started Anchal?
The concept of Anchal was born during a graduate course at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) with designers Colleen Clines, Joann Lee, Devon Miller, and Atisha Varshney in 2009. Colleen and Devon then carried it beyond the classroom, launching Anchal as an official non-profit in 2010.
What is Anchal’s unique strategy?
Anchal believes that design and interdisciplinary collaboration can become the vehicle for social change. As trained designers and experienced practitioners, we employ this skill to create unique economic solutions, develop textile compositions and craft effective design training curriculum.
Our design-led approach has proven successful in terms of creating viable economic opportunities for women, producing beautiful products and enabling a financially self-sufficient business model that has garnered the attention of Urban Outfitters as well as actor/activist America Ferrera.
Who are Anchal’s partners?
Anchal partners with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in India who provide health outreach and educational programs to commercial sex workers. Our current partners are Anoothi/Vatsalya in Ajmer, Rajasthan and New Light in Kolkata, West Bengal.
What are Anchal products?
Anchal sells various products: large quilts, scarves, baby quilts, pillows and pillowcases. Products are made from 100% recycled vintage cotton saris, layered and stitched together in Kantha-style (simple running stitch) by Anchal’s artisans. Additional collections include a dyeing process referred to as overdye.
Who are Anchal’s artisans and what do they receive?
Anchal’s program has trained over 200 women in India and currently employs 130 women. Anchal artisans are women participating in programs with our NGO partners and have additional interest in alternative careers in textile design. These women come from a demographic with low socioeconomic status. In addition to fair trade wages, artisans receive training, educational workshops & health benefits.
When I purchase an Anchal product, where does my money go?
As a 501(c)3 non-profit, when you purchase a product 100% go towards investing in Anchal's mission. In addition to women's economic stability, portions of each purchase go towards artisans’ educational workshops and health benefits as well as program expansion.
How does Anchal fund itself?
Anchal is primarily a revenue-generating social venture. Profits from sales go back into the organization for its sustainability and expanded programming. In addition, we rely on donations and grants to jump start new ventures. For example, we received grants from Dining for Women (DFW) and Google Social Impact Award among others. We also receive private donations from various individuals that help us increase our impact.
How can I get involved?
Purchase Anchal products, spread Anchal's story, volunteer in the Louisville area or become an Anchal Advocate. Find out more on our Get Involved page.