NGO's and self-help groups

NGO's and self-help groups

The Al-Arish Needlework Project was founded in 1973 in Al-Arish, northern Sinai, Egypt, by the NGO, the Mennonite Central Committee of North America. It was set up in order to help Bedouin and village women to make a living by creating and selling needlework, notably embroidery and beadwork.

The Freedom Quilting Bee was a quilting co-operative of rural African-American women, founded in Rehobeth, Alabama (USA), in 1966. The co-operative had two major goals: to raise money for the civil rights movement and to improve living standards for the quilters’ families.

Hansiba is the name of an Indian fashion brand created by the Self-Employed Women’s Association Trade Facilitation Centre (SEWATFC). The brand is named after the first and oldest Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) member, a traditional embroiderer called Hansiba.

The Kala Raksha Trust is a social development organisation based in Sumrasar Sheikh, in the Kutch region of Gujarat (western India). The Trust’s main aim is to preserve traditional arts, in particular embroidery, by helping artisans to become economically self-sustaining.

Kaross is an embroidery initiative founded in 1989 in the Letsitele and Giyani areas of the Limpopo Province, South Africa. Kaross was established by five Shangaan embroiderers and Irma van Rooyen, a visual artist, who was also the creative director and founder. Sitting on local blankets (kaross; hence their name), the ladies started to create works of art reflecting their lives and cultural background.

The Parzor Foundation for the Preservation of Vulnerable Human Heritage, founded in 2002, developed out of the UNESCO sponsored Parzor project for the preservation and promotion of Parsi Zoroastrian culture and heritage, that was started in 1999. The Foundation supports social activities and academic research in the field of Parsi cultural heritage, including Parsi embroidery.

The Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) is a trade union in India of approximately 1.2 million members. SEWA is working with the United Nations Women’s Department to organize home-based women workers throughout South Asia. Its members are among the poorest and unorganized workers in India and include street vendors, manual labourers, and women who work from their homes, such as embroiderers and weavers.

The SEWA Trade Facilitation Centre (SEWATFC) is a non-profit company in India that was founded in 2003. It is the commercial arm of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). The women are the company shareholders and suppliers. SEWATFC helps women to develop and market products throughout India and internationally from two centres, in Ahmadabad and New Delhi (India).

Shrujan is a non-profit organization (NGO) founded in 1969 by Ms. Chandaben Shroff. Shroff had just visited the Kutch area in Gujarat, India, in order to help with famine relief after a severe drought. Realizing that many of local women were excellent embroiderers, she began an income-generating project with women producing up-market embroidered saris. This decision resulted in Shrujan.

Siwa Creations is an Egyptian company, founded by Laila Neamatallah, working with hand embroiderers in the Siwa oasis, Egypt. Siwa Creations was set up in 2001 with the aim of helping Siwan women and girls develop and sell their embroideries.

Tambani is a South African self-help group that is making embroideries and appliqués based on local, Venda folklore. The Venda live in northeastern South Africa, in an arid area with little employment. The Tambani group grew out of the work of a South African academic, Ina le Rouz, who in 1989 carried out a research project about Venda folk tales at the University of Venda.