Empowering Women of Jaipur: Sailaway speaks to Darshna from the Ladli Charity

Please tell us about yourself Darshna. Where are you from and what do you do?

My Name is Darshna Goswami. I’m originally from central India, but moved to Jaipur City after marrying my husband. I hold a masters in mathematics, and before joining Ladli I was preparing for advanced studies in science and mathematics. I gave up my academic background and joined the Ladli project in bid of empowering and supporting the young girls and women who come from disadvantaged background in Jaipur.   

Ladli Charity in Jaipur, India

How did the Ladli charity start?

Ladli was started by I-India, and now operates as a social enterprise. I-India, a non-profit NGO based in Jaipur, started in 1993 and reaches approximately 3000 children daily through its street schools program, residential homes, child helpline and vocational centres, including Ladli. 

Ladli charity in India

How does Ladli help others and what do they learn and gain by coming to the organisation?

Ladli is not a production or manufacturing unit, rather it is a social enterprise which promotes ownership, community, and a friendly working and learning environment. Participants receive fair incentives and profit-sharing; social workers for mentoring, education, life-skills, meals, health checkups, recreation and entrepreneurial support. As owners, the beneficiaries share the revenue, which benefits their overall development, improves living-standards and most importantly extends the program to reach more and more disadvantaged youth and women.

Ladli charity in Jaipur, India

95 percent of participants attend education and some have gone on to colleges and university to study nursing, textile design and information technology. At the boys centre’s, they learn sewing and fabric printing. While the girls centre’s teach jewellery making, a sought-after skill in Jaipur which is famous for its semi-precious gems.

Regardless of their ability and output, everyone enrolled at Ladli receives regular and fair incentives which are saved into bank accounts opened in their names. These are maintained as a seed and startup fund until they become adults. The entire concept of the Ladli program is to empower participants through skill enhancement, financial security, with a taste of independence and ownership.

The women of Ladli charity in India

What does the word Ladli mean?

Ladli means 'loving girl’.

Women of Ladli sewing

How can others help Ladli and support what you’re doing?

Come and spend a few hours, days, weeks or months with us. We desperately need help. By teaching the children vocational skills such as jewellery-making you will broaden their training. You can also teach other subjects, for instance, English, drawing, music and dance. We also welcome extra help in the office or marketing our products in your home country. We’re also open to new ideas...

Buy Our Products
The children and youth feel proud when their work is sold. They get a big kick from knowing that people are wearing their jewellery and garments in countries all over the world. 100% of the proceeds from sales go directly to the children and towards running Ladli. The money does not go to other projects or towards offices and administration.

Give Us Orders
We would be delighted to work with new businesses on executing and delivering orders. We offer a professional service and have a trained team to look after your production needs.

Fabric printing at the Ladli charity in India

What is your vision for the future? How would you like Ladli to grow?

We have great plans for Ladli in the future. We want to formalise the curriculum and introduce diplomas. We want to create a job placement programme to assist children when they turn eighteen or above. We want to fully develop the centre for women in need of support. And, of course, we want to help more and more children and youth. In Jaipur alone there are hundreds of thousands of boys and girls living in shacks, tents or homeless on the street. With Ladli we believe we have a warm and winning recipe to help children regain their childhoods and secure their futures.

Women learning to sew at the Ladli charity

Sailaway is extremely proud to be supporting Ladli. How did the partnership start?

We are also very excited to be associated with Sailaway. We met Holly through Katrina Barker who was one of the important figures behind the Ladli project. They stayed at the same hotel in Jaipur. Katrina explained how Ladli worked and what the charity is all about, which inspired Holly to visit our project, and she instantly wanted to help out. We're very grateful she did! 

A note from Holly...

Katrina Barker (of Katrina Barker Designs and founder of Ladli) and I met at breakfast in our hotel in Jaipur, sharing stories of fabric sourcing and laughing over the joys and challenges of travelling alone. She took me to Ladli and I was bowled over by the warmth and vibrancy of the place. Met at the entrance by six or seven children smiling ear to ear after their numeracy lesson, they proudly led me inside where groups of women working and talking together, I could appreciate the immense craftsmanship skills they had acquired and sense their dedication to putting their best into their work. It seemed to come from a genuine gratitude to Ladli, from the immense positive impact of having such an uplifting community to feel at home in.
Darshana, the manager, an extraordinary lady of equal parts immense intelligence and kindness explained each worker is given a bank account, something that's near impossible to come by if you lived on the street, and explained how people had saved enough of their earnings to actually buy a plot of land to build their own homes for their families. I struggled to keep it together at this point, and after visiting the men in a separate unit down the road and I promised to come again on my next trip. I can't wait to see how the kids are getting on with their school classes and what beautiful garments and homewares they have been hand crafting since last time.

If you find yourself in or near Jaipur, do go and visit, offer skills or time or simply enjoy their extraordinary shop. You can also donate here. There is no place in Jaipur City with better vibes than Ladli.

Posted on August 4, 2017 .