These Women Need Your Help

Hello everyone. I wondered if you could help please?

If you’re a regular reader here, you probably already know that I design handbags & leathergoods and they are manufactured by my partners in rural India in our ethical, fair trade workshop. It’s pretty remote – in the countryside about 3 hours from Chennai.

India have been in lock-down since March 24th and their government basically gave everyone 4 hours notice that lock-down was commencing. So, no time to clear the workshop of finished orders, sort out work that the workers could take home. Absolutely NO time to do anything!

As you can imagine, life has become very difficult.

In my recent communications with my guys in India, I’ve realised what a MUCH more serious situation they are in than me/us in the UK. They totally need help and I want to help them…not just by honouring my existing orders & stretching myself to send more, but by helping to raise money for the wages of the village workshop workers.

It’s a small business and the owners Venky & Radhika are very caring about their staff. They (and I) want to pay the workers, even though they can’t work, for the duration that the workshop has to be closed.

I am not a rich brand owner. I love what I do but I don’t have money stashed away that I can use to help. I have stock and if I could sell it all tomorrow, I’d advance Venky the money to keep him and our workshop in business. Sadly that’s not happening either – although the more you do shop, the more I can help 🥰

All the staff were paid for March but April’s wages are due and we’re thinking ahead to May and beyond. Who knows how long this thing will last. Venky & Radhika and I just want to keep the workers paid, so they can buy food and look after their families while we wait to be able to welcome them back to the workshop again.

My plan is to have my head shaved following the Tonsure tradition in India and I’m looking for sponsorship to raise 60k to help my Indian workers feed and care for their families for the next 6 months. If I raise extra, I will use it to help the wider community in this very rural area.

Radhika explains about Tonsure: “In India, Tonsure is usually done twice in your life, once as a baby or small child and again when you choose, as an adult. The removal of your hair (crowning glory) is symbolic to sacrificing your ego to the universe which will help you in bringing awareness within yourself. It’s quite a strong tradition in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, where we’re based.”

If you look at the photo above you may see a couple of the women with very short ‘growing back’ hair, having recently done their Tonsure.

For me, shaving my head is WAY out of my comfort zone 😬 And getting the hubby (Robert) to do it, since we’re in lock-down… AND doing it live on Facebook ,You Tube, Instagram or wherever (more details to follow). I am actually not looking forward to this very much. BUT I need and want to help.

And I need YOUR help too please.

The plan is for Robert to shave my head on May 11th. That is our 20th Anniversary (since we met) and 7th Anniversary (since we married). We also spent the 11th May 6 years ago in Tamil Nadu with Venky & Radhika, so very apt indeed. And hopefully an auspicious day for the job.

That’s me on the left (not very good at selfies) with a thick head of hair – and 2 weeks to go!

Thanks for reading all this and if you can please help me to help my amazing and talented leather workers and their families that would be amazing.

My Just Giving fundraising page is here. Thank you so very much for anything you can give.

PS: In the next post, I will share more ideas for my fundraiser. If you have any ideas we could consider please do leave me a comment here or on Facebook. Thanks x

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