Published: 13th October 2017
Simran Preet Kaur from Delhi is using embroidery to empower underprivileged women
Pins & Needles, started by Simran Preet Kaur, helps underprivileged women battle financial troubles and illnesses in their families
The struggle for rights and empowerment is a daunting one for most women in this country. There are many who talk about empowering women, but in reality, how many actually step forward to take a stand? However, there are a few who are committed to improving the lives of women in India. They find unique ways to help them become more self-sufficient. One such venture is Pins & Needles, started by Simran Preet Kaur, that helps underprivileged women battle financial troubles and illnesses in their families. They are taught the art of embroidery and making embroidered hoops. The hoops are then sold in the market and the revenue generated is solely for the women involved in making them.
“This project is mainly centred around reviving the dying art of embroidery, empowering women, and saving them from depression by giving them an outlet to express themselves and forget their problems,” says Simran, a resident of Greater Kailash, Delhi. “I am associated as a volunteer with a school in the slums where I used to meet mothers who were depressed and had no money to even afford the basics. So, my friend, Pragyan Patnaik, and I started teaching them embroidery,” she adds.
My family and friends helped me spread the word. We displayed our products at kitty parties, boutiques and school meetings which helped empower these women to a large extent
Simran Preet Kaur, Founder - Pins and Needles
Simran, who has been doing this for a year now, teaches various types of stitches and styles to distressed women. And it is not limited to hoops; they make bags, pouches, bedsheets, towels and pillow covers too. “They were first taught different types of stitches and embroidery styles on plain cloth for three months. Then, gradually, they started making these hoops and we began gifting them among our family and friends on birthdays, anniversaries and other occasions,” explains the 49-year-old.
The raw materials like the fabric and hoops are procured by the members of the organisation. Apart from that, Simran adds, many donors and well-wishers also pitch in to buy raw materials for them. “Each one plays an important role. A few people help us find designs, a few draw for us, while some help in spreading the word,” she says. Around 50 women have been trained and rescued from the discrimination they face in their families. These liberated women have now sought comfort in Pins & Needles.
Simran distributes the bags and pouches they make to cancer-affected children and their families, inspiring them to learn the art. The hoops are sold in various boutiques in Delhi. Around 100 hoops are sold each month, providing a livelihood for several members
Simran claims that their art has gained them much-needed respect in their family. “Their work is so neat and creative and is appreciated by everybody. These ladies have started earning and are now looked at with respect. A few ladies even bought smartphones with their money and are now using it to better their business. They are able to pay their fee on time. They are not dependent on others for small needs. They have a voice. In some cases, even the abuse by their in-laws has decreased,” she adds.
As for the future, Simran says that her journey to empower women has been satisfying and she will continue to do so in the future as well. She hopes that more and more people buy their products and help liberate these women.
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