Category Archives: Sisterhood

We Want to Hear from YOU

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xmas

We have received wonderful responses from our supporters about giving & receiving Anchal products this holiday season. We wanted to celebrate this growing sisterhood by sharing photos of YOU, our sisters. So if you gave or received a didi scarf this holiday season, email us a photo and we will feature you on our blog.

Because of you, we are changing lives. Thank you for all of your support!

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Beautiful Things that Connect You Deeply

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A product that is beautiful is simply a beautiful product. But a product that is beautiful and connects you deeply enters a world of personal meaning. Gifts often work this way. When someone you love takes the time to give you a beautiful gift, the gift’s beauty is a part of it – the other part is the person’s love for you, the intention behind the gift.

In working on Anchal’s Didi Connection Campaign, we realized the unique potential for our products to connect women to each other. Didi scarves connect us with a deeper understanding of sisterhood. Your sister is not just a the woman you happened to share a mother with, she can be anybody. She might live across seas, in another country – struggling the way many women today still do. In that way, Didi scarves aren’t just gorgeous scarves, they’re also symbols of collective meaning.

Here is a recent note I got from our Didi Heather:

“Today, I have just ordered three Didi Scarves and a baby quilt – I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to buy these beautiful things knowing that our sisters in India will be helped a little and that I will be the beneficiary of their beautiful handiwork. You are my Didi, your Mom is my Didi – we are all Didis together.”

This is a new age of conscious consumerism – let’s continue to surround ourselves with beautiful, meaningful products that connect us with something deeper and make a difference in this world.

-Maria

Anchal and Dining for Women in Philadelphia

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This past Sunday I presented Anchal’s Mission and Vision at the Elkins Park Chapter of Dining for Women. The event was held at the beautiful home of Cindy Ariel and Rob Naseef. Cindy Ariel and Sheryl Potashnik, the Co-Leaders of the Chapter were amazing hosts. After a short meeting, where I gave a brief PowerPoint presentation and showed our video, the evening turning into an cornucopia of delicious food and stimulating conversations. It was so wonderful to meet the intelligent and dynamic members of the Elkins Park Chapter and make connections with Dining For Women. Here are some photos of the event.

-Lizzy

www.diningforwomen.org


Ever been to The Taj Mahal in France?

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Greetings from France!

I’ll be reporting from an ocean’s distance closer to India from now on, as I am about to start a Master’s program in Dijon in a couple of weeks…

It’s good to be back after a year away from my “second set” of family and friends. Things are just as I left them, for the most part, and the beauty of fall in France is a nice welcome.

But I’m still homesick. I miss my family and dear friends in the States. Facebook gives an odd sense of closeness: I see events going on around the town I left, I comment on ideas and updates. In the end, though, I am too far away for hugs and strolls down Bardstown Road and Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.

My fiancé, Nicolas, knows I’m homesick. So, he did what any man would do and took his girl out for Indian food.

Yes, the first date-night dinner we shared was at the Taj Mahal, a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant whose scents of curry and coriander and cumin wafted into the narrow French street and brought a sense of security to a girl so far from home. I could not have chosen a better place than this little purple-walled, vibrantly decorated place.

(It’s sometimes hard to find [good] ethnic food in France, which has always been one of my chief concerns about living here. [Does that sound strange?] Coming from food-centric Louisville, I am pretty demanding when it comes to variety. You should have seen how much Mexican food I ate in the weeks before my departure. Ghastly.)

Nicolas and I loaded up on Indian comfort food, beginning with vegetable samosas and chicken skewers and fresh naan. Then there was curry. Buttery, basmati-fied curry. As they say in France, “eet was zee best!”

(They don’t really say that in France.)

At the end of the evening, I was feeling a bit philosophical. Existential questions included, “how does a girl from Kentucky come to France and feel comforted by Indian food?”

Well, my friends, I think it has to do with associations. I’ve never been to India, you know. I didn’t even grow up with a vast knowledge of Indian cuisine. But in this last year, Anchal has brought me closer to India, and to my sisters there, than I imagined possible. By working with Colleen and Maggie and the rest of the Anchal gang, I’ve developed a funny sort of long distance connection with people I have never met, not to mention a tangible connection with the amazing women and men working stateside on the Anchal Project.

Staying connected, even in small ways, is good for the soul. My little French Taj Mahal reminded me of Anchal, and how grateful I am that I can stay involved, even across the Atlantic.

Now, that’s some powerful stuff, right?! If you’re reading this and wondering if this kind of Didi love is your thing, don’t hesitate to get involved! We need you!

-Emily

International Day of the Girl

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“Girls are the future of the world and we definitely need a day dedicated to their issues,”
– Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee

Tomorrow, October 11th, is the first ever International Day of the Girl. Last year, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to establish a day to recognize the unique obstacles girls face around the world and galvanize worldwide enthusiasm to better girls’ lives. It is a day to not only celebrate girls, but a day to create action.

“The Day of the Girl puts a special focus on the needs of girls throughout the world. We know that in many countries girls get left behind in all areas of life from school to work and in the worst cases aren’t even allowed to be born,” said Plan Chief Executive Officer Nigel Chapman.

Now why is this day important? Why is there not a day of the boy? The reality is that tens of millions of girls face daily discrimination, violence, and economic inequality simply because they were born female. Girls confront challenges such as early marriage, forced marriage, child labor, and education inequality. They are especially vulnerable due to their age and complete lack of power and control over their lives.

Here are some of the staggering statistics:

• One in nine girls, or 15 million, has been forced into marriage between the ages of 10 and 14.

• ½ of girls in developing countries become mothers as children.

• Child brides are treated as property – they are bought, sold and thrown away at the whims of their husbands.

• Girls who complete secondary school are 6 times less likely to become child brides.

The artisans of Anchal are these statistics. They were born into this inequality that led them down the path of forced prostitution. One of our artisans was forced to marry at only the age of 14. Her husband later threw her out and divorced her at 17. With no education and little skills, she turned to the sex trade just to stay alive.

This is why tomorrow is so important, why an urgent response is necessary to harness girls potential by creating and designing a better life for them and future generations. Because when you educate a girl, you can break cycles of poverty in just one generation.

Help us celebrate our didi sisters around the world and end girls inequality by taking action now!

Here are so ways to get involved with Anchal’s women and girls:
Become a didi to our Artisans here.
Help us start an education fund for the daughters of our artisans. Donate here.

See what are partner’s are doing:
New Light
Vatsalya

Also visit:
The Day of the Girl Website
Girl Effect
Care.org
Plan International

“Thank You” Just Isn’t Enough – Half the Sky Screening

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This past week has been an exciting time for the Anchal team. We have received amazing news right and left, and we are happy to report that our Didi Scarves are going fast! First, we want to thank everyone who helped make Anchal’s Night at the Movies Pre-Release Screening of Half the Sky a true success!

Before the event on Sunday afternoon the team was busy buying balloons, making signs, picking up 500+ cookies, and practicing lines. The office was surprisingly calm for most of the day, minus a forgotten password and 20 minutes of pure terror, but all in all we felt ready and confident. Then it came time to set up the space for the evening, nerves were setting in. Colleen and I made our way to the event space, of course picking up just one more iced coffee on the way. More jitters? ‘Eh why not?’

When we arrived at the Ursuline Arts Center, over 30 volunteers consisting of friends, family, students and new supporters were already taking care of every detail. 15 Sacred Heart Academy students volunteered to model scarves for the silent auction and help get things rolling. It was wonderful to have these young activists assist with the evenings events, their energy and excitement was contagious. As I stood watching from the balcony above, it was as if I was watching a choreographed dance. Everyone knew their place, whether it was the bartender, ticket salesmen/saleswomen, or just a good old schmoozer, everyone seemed ready. At this point I slipped away to tech world and readied the video. After getting the volume just right, I went back into the reception space. I was shocked! If the attendance had topped at that moment I would have been happy, but it didn’t. Within 30 minutes, over 250 people were sipping wine, and enjoying cookies, candy and popcorn.


The next hour flew by, knowing many of the faces I bounced from one group to the next quickly forgetting my job to document the evening with photographs. Thankfully our wonderful intern Rachael took these priceless photos. It was crazy! At times I could barely squeeze past people to check out the silent auction or to sneak over to the cookie table. Everyone was enjoying themselves, all excited to support Anchal and more importantly get a preview of the Half the Sky documentary. The social hour came and went, it was time for the show.

The event began with Elizabeth Woolsey, our wonderful emcee, giving a brief history of Anchal and introducing Colleen for a quick update on our project. 30 minutes later, the screening had begun. I abandoned my post as the ‘pusher of play’ and snuck down and around backstage. I turned the corner and saw Colleen. Within seconds we were giggling and jumping around. We were so excited with the incredible turn out and so very thankful for all the help we had received. We both agreed the event couldn’t have been going any better. After updating each other on random tidbits, we parted ways and returned to our posts.

The evening wound down once the film had ended, and all the silent auction pieces had found new homes. It felt amazing to share our passion with those who were unaware on the women’s right issue addressed in the film. More importantly we hoped that the film opened eyes and inspired hearts. So to say THANK YOU just doesn’t seem to cover it, but THANK YOU to everyone who volunteered their time, who bought tickets and came to the show. Special thanks to those that sponsored the event and who donated the party beverages and snacks. It was a fantastic evening!

Now that you’ve seen the film, spread the word! Tell anyone who will listen about the struggles women face today and tell them how they can make a difference by supporting Anchal and organizations like us. That’s all it takes, educate those around you and share your passion for changing lives.

-Maggie

If you missed the Half the Sky documentary this past Monday and Tuesday, visit their site for future screenings and learn how you can purchase the DVD!

For more photographs check out NFocus