New Zealand and India are about as opposite as can be. But Sarah and Paul Beisly found a home there with their two children. It is there with a team of five Kiwi's in Kolcata's red light district where they started The Loyal Workshop. They have a very simple and beautiful plan to create opportunities and freedom for local women trapped in the sex trade. The workshop is smack-dab in the middle of bustling Kolkata, in an area called Bowbazar. Only a 5 minute walk from The Loyal Workshop is the second largest red light area in Kolkata, where an estimated 1500-2000 women are still trapped in the sex trade.
The Loyal Workshop now gives hope to local women seeking to escape the sex trade by providing training and employment creating one of a kind leather goods in their workshop. The artisans are women from backgrounds of poverty, each with their own story of trauma and oppression: sold, stolen, trafficked and forced against their will into the sex trade. Without prospect of finding alternative employment, they were trapped, but still with dreams, talents and larger than life personalities. They now find hope for a future at The Loyal Workshop.
"We believe that business can be a tool to bring freedom to those trapped in slavery. Our business IS about freedom. Every product we create is part of a woman’s freedom journey. The foundation of our business is people. These women are fast becoming loyal friends. They have complex lives full of abuse, poverty and oppression. To help them untangle themselves from oppressive situations takes time. And we’re not in any hurry. This business exists for them."
We are thrilled to take part in this project and become advocates for the women who make these satchels. The name of the woman who created each bag can be found inside on the pocket. By purchasing these products you not only provide yourself with a beautifully crafted and very practical item, but you help that very woman who's name is etched in your bag find freedom one stitch at a time.
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