Women were were formerly unemployed or "unemployable" have been building new lives through self-help via MarketPlace since 1986. The MarketPlace model of self-help involves them in every aspect of production. They acquire basic skills that they then use in planning aspects of their lives, taking initiative in community actions and their children's schools, and changing the relationships between them and their husbands and children.
As an artisan member of one of MarketPlace 14 cooperatives, they are involved in design workshops, plans for production, quality control, and transferring skills. Their product line has grown from quilts to apparel and home decor. The item I selected features hand embroidery, a feature that allows women to work from home and gives newcomers a quick start in a cooperative.
The clothing adapts Asian garments for American customers in cottons perfect for warm summer temperatures. Many of the items found in their catalogue work with a variety of Indian hand dyeing techniques that also involve artisans who carve blocks, tie threads, print and dye. Their work preserves some of India's rich textile traditions~batik, tie-dye, kalamkari~and avoids a machine-printed imitation.
I encourage you to visit their website, read a few of the stories about the changed lives of their artisans, the techniques involved in manufacture, and select an item or two for purchase. I have my eye on this kavita dress that gathers around the hem or these field pants in a richly patterned fabric. There are beautiful scarves and skirts and tunics. Oh, just go look for yourself.
MarketPlace is offering A $100 giveaway, unfortunately limited to US readers only. To enter, follow Rags and leave a comment below on the item that most strikes your fancy. The giveaway is open until midnight, April 6.