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Quilting Hopes in the Foothills of Himalayas, Purkal

One woman wanted to help another woman to earn the day’s bread and realize her worth in the society. Today, that woman helps hundred more women live a respectful life and contribute to the society. Here’s an inspiring story of Ms. Chinny Swamy, Founder and CEO of Purkal Stree Shakti Samiti.

Meet the Quilting Queen of Purkal

About 12 years ago, in 2003, Chinny and Swamy, Chinny’s husband, thought of shifting to a place surrounded by snow-clad mountains, close to nature, some place like the foothills of Himalayas. The couple chose to move to the pristine Purkal, a humble village- dotted somewhere between Dehradun and Mussorie.

An artist by profession, Chinny has practiced quilting as a hobby and, ever since she relocated to Purkal, she has been involved with providing the women of this community income earning opportunities through the creation and sale of quilted and appliqué products. She initiated this programme because she wanted to help one woman develop her quilting skills in order to improve her family’s quality of life; the organisation now has over 125 women working in its production facility.

 

Ms. Chinny Swamy, Founder & CEO of Purkal Stree Shakti Samiti

Ms. Chinny Swamy, Founder & CEO of Purkal Stree Shakti Samiti

How Purkal is Quilting Hope

Purkal is a small cold mountain village; its inhabitants, a mere 5000. Here, most of the families lacked basic education and skills and suffered from various cultural and social issues like untouchability and inequality, which kept them locked in a continuous cycle of poverty. Chinny definitely wanted to change this, and opted to contribute to the society by empowering women and making them independent, and gain respect in the society, she founded the Purkal Stree Shakti Samiti.

At Purkal Stree Shakti Samiti, the women work in different interdependent self-help groups to produce beautiful patch work and appliqué products that help them earn an income. The Organisation also runs childhood development centre called Shishu Shakti for the betterment of kids.

Purkal Shishu Shakti

Chinny today proudly says, “PSSS is an organisation for empowering the women of Purkal. We are now a registered non-profit organisation, empowering women to produce textile products such as quilts, cushion covers, bags, stoles, and other accessories. Our signature product is the patchwork and appliqué quilts”.  Chinny, then (in 2003, when she founded PSSS), had one woman, with whom she began quilting, now PSSS has grown into a team of over 125 women. This includes women who make the products, the designers, accounts manager, purchase and marketing manager, store manager, office assistant, supervisor, quality controllers, trainers, and more.

 purkal woman

What Purkal Stree Shakti Samiti Does

PSSS inspires, and ignites entrepreneurial skills in women, so that they can manage a business and maximize their income. Slowly and steadily PSSS, the small initiative turned into a self- help organisation empowering women of this village, and helping them find independence, and respect in the society. The programme aims at upgrading women artisans and helping them become part of the management team, ultimately helping them work and earn better.

Slowly, over the years, the world is introduced to quilts made by the women of Purkal. PSSS retails its products through their shop at the women centre in Purkal, their online store, and at exhibitions across India. They now, also have retail partners in the US and the UK.

Let’s Support the Endeavour

What inspires us in the story of PSSS is how one dream, one seed of thought, if nurtured well, can turn into an innovative idea, and ultimately can bring desired change in the society. The women of Purkal are striving everyday to become better entrepreneurs.  Apart from Chinny, there is a stream of volunteers from all over the world who lend their expertise in skill development, marketing, and retailing for no additional cost. Let’s volunteer, in whatever way we can, let’s get some movement happening and let’s make lives in Purkal a little more sustainable.

A sneak peek into PSSS’s products on Red Polka

Purkal Fish QuiltOwl Tea Cozy- Purkal Stree Shakti Samiti

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Polka Coffee is your e-coffee-table-book; here you will have recourse to quick reads that interest you, and inspire you, and inform you of all things, fashion and life. The features will motivate you to be fashionable, and always be you! It’s a blog linked to www.redpolka.com. Red Polka is a podium to discover and crave curated fashion and lifestyle designs. It’s a unique platform, a window that opens up to handpicked available options, for shoppers, designers, inspiration seekers, trendsetters, and women, who know what they wear, and what they want! www.redpolka.com. is a great place to start shopping conversations! Founder, Ms. Vishakha Singh is a visionary and an evangelist. Red Polka is her wishing-well, filled with ideas to shop in style. She not only helps brands showcase their enticing products, but also help the brands market their products to the buyers. She has time and again helped build major brands, and cropped novel ideas for shopper marketing. She strongly believes that, “what shows, sells!”, and hence she toes the line between the seller and the buyer effectively with her ventures, www.redpolka.com, and Polka Coffee Sessions. Come, be the chosen one!

2 comments on “Quilting Hopes in the Foothills of Himalayas, Purkal

  1. lakshmimnl
    April 7, 2015

    Its very inspiring. The quilts are very beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

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