Representatives from Larsen & Toubro (L&T) recently visited the Nari Dana project at the Bishop’s House in Kolkata, and were treated to a tour.
Mr Sanjeev Sharma, L&T’s General Manger, travelled from the company’s Mumbai headquarters for the visit, and was joined by Mr Prosenjit Roy, Kolkata Branch Manager, and Mr Govind Shaw, Kolkata HR Head.
One of India’s biggest construction companies, Larsen & Toubro have provided support for Nari Dana in various ways over the past few years, including arranging transport and food for the women during 2020 to enable them to continue the activities at times when Government lockdown restrictions allowed.
The women received a real boost from the visit and the interest Mr Sharma, Mr Roy and Mr Shaw showed in the project.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, women living in the slums across India have faced tougher challenges, in addition to the daily struggles they already experience. For many, the restrictions on their livelihood has seen an adverse effect on their family’s income. Praise God, these women did not give up. The hope they’ve found through the launch of the Freedom project has enabled them to look forward fearlessly.
Just a few highlights include:
- The Nari-Dana project has been operating for two days a week since the beginning of the pandemic. Many women are continuing to work from home when they can’t attend the production centres.
- The women have been busy producing masks for various big buyers including Larsen & Toubro and SASHA amongst others.
- Transport and food allowances have been provided to enable the women to attend centres during the lockdown period.
Visitors to St Paul’s Cathedral can browse Nari Dana products and find out more about the project at a new outdoor stand.
The women and instructors of Nari Dana have been making good use of their time under lockdown by producing face masks.
CRS Director, Rig David, travelled to the homes of members the Nari Dana team to deliver batches of cotton material. They are making masks for members of their family and local community, as well as taking orders.
Larsen & Toubro, the Indian multinational, that has supported CRS activities including Nari Dana over recent years, placed an order for 500 masks. Meanwhile the Diocese of Kolkata ordered 200 and another customer ordered 300.
This is a great opportunity for Nari Dana women to maintain their livelihoods during this very difficult time.
You can also support Nari Dana by purchasing brooches made by the women from recycled fabrics. These are on sale via the Tabitha Living online boutique: https://tabithaliving.com/product-category/brooches/ 100% of the proceeds will go towards the Nari Dana women.
There’s a new production manager at Nari Dana, CRS social enterprise: Mr Sankar Das.
Sankar is a Master Weaver who ran a small family weaving business for ten years before being appointed as the production manager of a business unit set up in Murshidabad to manufacture woven and sewn products for export. It employed 48 women, many of whom were trafficked into prostitution in Kolkata.
The Murshidabad centre closed in 2019 as part of a business restructuring but Janet Roberts, who originally set up the venture, recommended Sankar to CRS.
Currently the CRS skills training programme for women and the production of items at Nari Dana focuses on sewing and embroidery, but there are plans for Sankar to introduce weaving training and a new line of woven products. To this end, we are going to purchase some of the looms and equipment from the Murshidabad business.
The photo shows Sankar (left) and Janet (third from left) with some of the women from Nari Dana.