Livelihood

Women Tailoring Network​

YellowBag Foundation initiative

Women Tailoring Network (WTN)is a network of tailoring women from urban-slums. It works to improve the quality of their life by providing secured — livelihood opportunities. The initiative was started in 2014 by a passionate couple in Madurai who wanted to bring back cloth bags to mainstream usage. Cloth bags became our tool to create secured-livelihood for women.

Where do we work?

Madhichiyam is one of the crowded urban slums in Madurai. Covered with cramped single room houses with roads as common utility spaces. Bustling with children, Madhichiyam is a portrait of struggling livelihood and insecurity. Through a span of 6 years, YellowBag Foundation has started to gain trust from the community. We find this to be the right time to scale up our work to create a bigger impact across urban slums in Madurai & beyond.

The Challenge

With zero income opportunities for women, families are dependent on husband’s inconsistent income. Economic vulnerability is deep-rooted and manifests itself in these three forms.

  • Inconsistent income leads them to debts. It dilutes the available finances and decreases the standard of living.
  • The investments they make for health are greatly minimized. This not only affects their physical health, but a state of constant stress has shown to affect their mental health as well.
  • It affects children’s educational outcomes. According to OECD, 63% of the children are affected by poor socio-economic background. Children grow up with a lack of quality parenting, supervision and support. This increases the tendency towards crimes, drug abuse and stagnates holistic development.

What has been done?

YellowBag Foundation believes that economic empowerment of women is a springboard for social empowerment.

So far, we have created one micro-enterprise in Madichiyam with capability to facilitate work for more units in Madurai. This enterprise makes customizable cloth bags upon bulk orders. So far, it has created employment for40+ women by manufacturing 1.5Mn+ cloth bags for 850+ customers across the world.

The unit survived the economic impact of Covid and currently creates employment for 10 women and fast-growing back.

Uniqueness of the unit;

  • Women get to work closer to their homes.
  • Skill training and capacity building is provided free of cost.
  • Advocating decent work with fair wages
  • Regular income that helps women plan their future and make choices.
  • Emphasis on quality production that fits market needs from the simplest of places.

Note: In a large-scale garment unit, 1% to 3% of the garment value goes to the producer. In this model, the producer takes home 25% of the garment’s(cloth bag) value.

Our Proposal

To create a network of women from urban slums and make cloth bags for customers across the world. This network would consist of women who work from home, women who run micro-enterprises and women who work in such micro-enterprises; all within their communities.

With a projected global market value of USD 6 Billion by 2025, cloth bag making has an undeniable scope. Creating more viable jobs in this sector can recreate a strong community from vulnerability.  It aims to help women see themselves as effective agents and promoters of secured income and gender equity.

How to do this?

We are making this journey possible through a six-step process.

The approach provides creative producers a choice to work in self-owned enterprises rather than in factories that often disregard basic rights and working conditions standards. Though decentralized in nature, WTN offers the promise of quantity, quality, and reliability in products.

 

Impact

YellowBag Foundation wishes to achieve both economic impact (including regular work, increased wages and financial stability) and social impact (compliant, child labor free value chains, improved agency for adolescents, youth, and women at home and in their communities, as well as better educational opportunities for the next generation) through its social enterprises.

We aim to take this replicable and scalable model starting with 50 women and progressing to 1000 women in a span of 7 years.

 

What support do we need?

Program Funding.

We are looking for a CSR partner/donor to fund this program. Funds will be used for;

Mobilizing & skill development

  1. Marketing & Customer Service
  2. Technology & Operations

Strengthening Infrastructure