Five things you should know about Sudara…

women holding hands

Sudara exists to advocate on behalf of and empower women who have escaped from, or are at the highest risk of, human trafficking by providing dignified employment opportunities. It’s not an easy mission by any means. Yet, every day we wake up even more energized, even more passionate, and with even more fight in our step because we see and know that lives are changing. Here’s what inspires us to keep going:

1. We believe that people are not property.

No human being should be owned by anyone, anywhere, for any reason — ever. We will not back down on that fact. It is what drives us to be abolitionists and stand for freedom. It also forms the foundation of our dignified, living wage employment model. Every woman in a Sudara sewing center earns wages that are, on average, double the fair-trade baseline for her work.

2. We believe that women are strong.

Many of the women at the Sudara sewing centers have endured great physical and psychological trauma throughout their life. They have come to the sewing centers to heal, to find a safe haven, and to create a new life for themselves and their children.   They inspire us daily with their resiliency and their strength. And, each pair of PUNJAMMIES® is named after one of the women to honor her bravery and celebrate her freedom.

image ©PaulaWattsPhotography

3. We believe that education is power.

The women who come to a Sudara sewing center are not the only ones who receive care — their children can also live in safe housing and receive an education while staying connected to their mother. This is the cycle-breaking change we are passionate about. An education affords a child a completely different type of future than they would have otherwise known; it’s a chance, a choice, an opportunity to live in freedom. And, this is the sort of momentum that erodes systemic poverty and human objectification at its root.

image ©PaulaWattsPhotography

4. We are moved by the complexity and beauty of India.

Human trafficking manifests itself in particular ways in every nation and culture, but India presents a unique situation in which we feel compelled to intervene. Despite legal prohibition, it is the country with one of the highest number of trafficked persons world-wide. In spite of these sometimes overwhelming facts, India is also a country of great beauty. Our products are meant to reflect the patterns and textures seen in the local culture and throughout the country.

5. We believe in the freedom that comes by having a choice.

In addition to learning a skilled-trade such as sewing PUNJAMMIES®, the women have access to job training and placement services. These opportunities afford them the freedom to choose their own pathways. Some choose to become skilled tailors and open their own business, while others choose to go into cosmetology or technology; a few of the women have also gone on to nursing school. We love hearing their stories after they graduate from the centers — there is an ever-growing confidence in their voice as they talk about the great hope they now have for their future.

4 thoughts on “Five things you should know about Sudara…

    • Casey Cowan says:

      Great question and thanks for caring about this!

      Our model is not based on a percentage of sales or percentage of price per piece that goes back to the women. Instead, our model is to support and empower the women at the centers from the very beginning, before you ever purchase a pair of pants. Your purchase helps us continue empowering women and to partner with new centers so that we can empower even more women in the future.

      Our sewing centers in India provide living wages. These wages are, on average, double the fair-trade or minimum wage baseline for this type of work and takes into consideration the need to provide for themselves and a family. The women also have access to job training and placement services that afford them the freedom to choose their own pathways.

      A living wage and skills-training isn’t enough, though, when you think about the support that someone may need to rise above their current situation. So we donate additional funds that are invested in providing education for the children of the women, safe housing for those needing to escape abuse, health and wellness services, and micro-loans opportunities for those who would like to start their own business once they’ve acquired the necessary skills and experience at the centers.

      We are an Oregon-based benefit corporation and working on our impact report so that we can show the numbers behind these programs. We’ll have that available on our website in 2017.

      I’m sorry for the long response, but hope it helps you get a better idea of what we’re doing and what you are supporting with every purchase!

  1. Lynne says:

    I believe that to be an excellent response and look forward to purchasing and/or donating in some way. The question that I have, and I hope you can answer, has to do with your punjammies and the different styles. I cannot locate any type of description that explains what the difference is between the full and regular. Am I missing something??
    Thank you for your response and for your generosity to women around the world.

    • Erika says:

      Hi Lynne! The full is interchangeable with pants. We try to call them pants as much as possible to differentiate between the pants/full and capri. 🙂 We sometimes refer to the pants as regular if they are NOT a special cut such as slim or tall. On the site, the regular will be, for example, size Medium while the special cuts will say Medium-Slim or Medium-Tall.

Leave a Reply