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    Maggie and Colleen Clines, founders of Anchal Project, speak about design thinking and social innovation

    Our Story

    A Global Sisterhood is Born

    A Global Sisterhood is Born

    With backgrounds in design, sisters Colleen and Maggie Clines lead the organization by placing design and collaboration at the center of Anchal’s practice. 

    It all started in a design studio. Colleen Clines was taking a graduate seminar at the Rhode Island School of Design that took her on a trip to India in 2009. Through local leadership, Colleen was introduced to the exploitive world of the commercial sex trade and the lack of opportunity for women in the community. It was in this moment she was inspired to design more than beautiful landscapes, she was determined to collaborate with the NGO using design.

    “We felt compelled to take the project beyond the classroom with the conviction that our design training, in collaboration with local leadership, could address seemingly intractable social and environmental systems. The women we met became our sisters, sisters we had to fight for.”  - Colleen Clines, Co-Founder & CEO

    Anchal Founder, Maggie Clines, training artisans in color theory in India.

    While Colleen was scheming ways to collaborate with the amazing women she’d met in India, her sister Maggie was in college working on conscious architecture projects -discovering creative ways to repurpose a retired uranium facility. Maggie and Colleen would trade stories on their design experiences and wonder how they could unite their passions.

    “We both had linear projections for our careers. Then I saw that we could have more impact than I ever anticipated as a young woman. So I jumped onboard and we decided to make a go of it!” - Maggie Clines, COO & Creative Director

    After returning home, Colleen and her classmates raised $400 by selling handmade notebooks and notecards. They used the funds to purchase a sewing machine, sewing instruction, materials and a stipend for the first collective of artisans. 

    In 2010, Anchal officially became a 501(c)3 non-profit and we expanded the project by partnering with Vatsalya, an NGO in Ajmer, India. In 2012, Maggie joined her sister to co-lead Anchal.

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