- New Arrivals
- Our Story
- Designing Change
Rooted in collaboration and innovative design solutions, Anchal is a non-profit that operates like a business. By driving impact through product sales versus donations alone, we are confident in the long-term sustainability of our initiatives.
Our programs demonstrate that when we systematically address employment inequality, we can reduce the number of women reliant on commercial sex work and eliminate the stigma that women and girls face around the world. 95% of Anchal artisans have left the commercial sex trade or dramatically reduced their clients. Every artisan has her own personal bank account. And 100% of artisans are investing in their children’s education, thereby breaking the cycle of exploitation.
We are committed to ensuring that our program is creating positive change. Our impact is evident in each artisan’s personal growth, which we measure annually. Ferosa purchased a plot of land and has ideas for a farm, Renu bought her family a water filter to ensure safe drinking water, Seema purchased purple tile for her kitchen and Laxmi sent her daughter to college.
Our current program offers skills training in sophisticated patchwork and aggregated stitch patterns, revolutionizing traditional kantha quilting techniques. Each piece reveals the hand and heart of its maker while catering to a Western sensibility.
“Anchal artisans are not simply seamstresses, they are designers.” Each product is created with the artisan’s unique perspective & tells a personal story.
Design training introduces artisans to basic design principles through exercises in color theory, composition and pattern. In addition, we teach our artisans to translate local imagery into hand-stitched fabric compositions that express the regional cultures and surroundings. This form of self-expression and storytelling is at the root of the healing and empowering benefits design can contribute.
Artisans are paid fair and competitive wages that compete with the income from the commercial sex trade. Today Anchal artisans make 30%-50% more than they would as a commericial sex worker. Anchal values the individual and is committed to growing sustainably by giving full-time work to the artisans we support.
We acknowledge that a new job is not enough to transcend years of exploitation. To promote healing and knowledge, Anchal offers educational workshops in leadership, financial planning, entrepreneurship, women’s health, self-defense and emotional/stress management. Stress management workshops emphasize community building, support systems, dance & yoga. While financial planning workshops inspire the women to take control of their new income with lessons on budgeting, saving, managing credit and learning to negotiate. All lessons give women the tools to support an independent life.
Anchal artisans have the opportunity to attend bi-annual health camps that include a medical check-up, eye exam, free eye glasses, and the chance to talk to a doctor about any health concerns they may have. The Anchal Project Assistants on staff are given full health insurance. The benefit is free medical treatment for herself, her children and her parents and generous maternity leave of up to 6 month paid leave.
The communal workshop space is a critical benefit for the artisans to come together and work, share stories and realize their power as a collective. They serve as an active community of guidance and support for one another. Many artisans choose to work from home if they have young children, are not allowed to leave the house, or have an expensive, timely, or dangerous commute.
Importantly, Anchal provides the artisans with access to a large, international marketplace. This global network generates the necessary support for Anchal artisans to receive the financial support they deserve. Anchal’s direct sales channels include our online web store and traveling pop-up shops. Wholesale partnerships also expand our reach through boutiques, online marketplaces and creative retail collaborations like the Guggenheim Museum.