Saheli Women Supply Chain Management
In this Atelier,
Autodesk offers a tech training to Saheli Women in order to facilitate their supply chain management tool
Saheli Women reached out to Autodesk tech volunteers to help them establish a production management system tool and a center management tool in order to help their artisans in creating a seamless system and facilitate the center and production management and supply chain.
Meet Saheli Women
Saheli Women is a non-profit social enterprise, founded by IPHD in 2015, with the aim to financially empower the ladies of Bhikamkor village in rural Rajasthan through creating ethical and sustainable fashion.
The Saheli Women is a female atelier established on fair and inclusive principles, with the aim to create prosperity through livelihood opportunities. To achieve this, we empower women through teaching them traditional and modern embroidery techniques. Our atelier is a fear-free creative place for ladies to work where they get the freedom to design their working hours and holidays.
The Saheli Women consists of 35 female artisans who breathe life into the dreams and designs of our international partners. With the support of our international partners, Saheli women are able to empower and lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
IPHD manages the Saheli Women production facility for clothing, accessories and homeware out of its community center in Bhikamkor. Additionally, IPHD sponsors the educations of all daughters of Saheli Women members, runs the only female health clinic in the village, and delivers workshops on a range of topics including human rights, feminism, menstrual hygiene, health, and financial literacy
Meet the founder Madhu Vaishnav
It started with one woman. From humble beginnings to inspiring community leader, founder Madhu Vaishnav began IPHD in 2014 with the goal of community development through female empowerment.
Married at the age of 23, as a part of her marriage contract, Madhu was forbidden from working outside of the home. Even though she had a masters degree in Indian History she was unable to seek a job. Two healthy sons later, Madhu was a young mother and housewife with a desire to do more. As her sons began to grow, she became more involved in their education. She even began taking classes to learn English. In an effort to enroll her son in a prestigious English medium academy, she met with the school director and was miraculously offered a position as a teacher. Although Madhu was still an intermediate English speaker, she convinced her family to allow her to accept the offer, and committed herself to teaching during the day and learning English in the evenings.
Although Madhu was a successful and beloved teacher, after four years of working in the school she shifted to work in the nonprofit sector as a social worker. For five years she mainly worked in the slum areas outside Jodhpur as a program coordinator with an American NGO. Her work spanned many areas and she was able to assist in supporting female sex workers, HIV/AIDS awareness, microfinance, skills training, and sex worker education.
When attending a wedding in Bhikamkor, the rural village of her husband’s family, Madhu was exposed to the disadvantaged status of the village women. She was so inspired by the women’s ability to support their families with little means. From her encounters with the village women, Madhu decided to educate herself more on sustainable development and enrolled in a certificate course at the University of California Berkeley.
With only $100, the first humanitarian workshops in the village were established. Unfortunately, the women were unable to use this new information because they had no income. However, Madhu saw that every woman in the village owned a sewing machine as part of their marriage dowry. She saw this as an opportunity to begin a skills training course as part of a fashion social enterprise.
This came to be known as the Saheli Woman Project, which comes from the Hindi word for ‘female friend’. This project began to grow and more brands began to partner with the women producers. As Saheli grew, Madhu realized that the young girls in the village needed support, and started the girls’ education project.
The philosophy of IPHD revolves around sustainability. Every aspect of the organization is designed consciously, with the goal of preserved growth. The main revenue source of IPHD comes from intern fees, not donations. Through this consistent stream of college-age volunteers, IPHD is able to utilize students’ various skill sets in a sustainable way, so that the relatively short stay of volunteers does not negatively impact the village people. IPHD trains Bhikamkor locals to act as managers, teachers, and education advocates, individuals that will have a lasting presence in the community.
Her hope for IPHD is to use Saheli Woman as a tool to empower women as a means of community development. In the future, she hopes to expand Saheli Women into nearby villages and enroll every young girl in the village in school.
“No girls should be deprived of their education just because of small barriers.”