In the midst of hundreds of thousands of buildings, gates and doorways is a gated door with a sign above it, “Destiny Reflection”. The entry foyer has shoes scattered around, a cushioned bench, 2 folding chairs and a glass table. With the exception of emails and what I had read online, this was my first encounter with this organization/business.
Smarita, Founder and Director, welcomed me and introduced Nandini, Project Co-ordinator. We settled in with a cup of milk tea to share about our respective social enterprises. (It was a delight to sit, shoes off and legs curled under me and know that it was completely appropriate for the culture.) Smarita explained that with a passion to help girls coming out of the sex trade and some NGO experience, she founded Destiny Foundation and how the foundation and business work together.
“The Foundation comprises two divisions – Destiny, the charitable wing and Reflection, the business wing – which work in tandem with each other. Our aim is not simply to save girls from trafficking or sexual exploitation, but to make certain that they are not compelled to go back into the trade due to social and economic pressures. To achieve that end, Destiny Reflection recruits women from shelter homes and brothels, giving them training and employment opportunity. All our employees have been subjected to trafficking or are at high risk of falling prey to the process.” (excerpt from website)
I shared how Made for Freedom came into being and our desire to find production partners that provide dignified employment. I shared some samples of new products I’ve been considering and asked lots of questions about their center.
My tour of the facility was brief. The sewing room had about about 10 lovely girls, all wearing bright flowing Indian garments, bangle bracelets. One girl, sitting cross legged on the floor was measuring fabric and looked up when I walked in and flashed a beautiful smile as she said “Hello.” Two girls were sitting on the cutting table as they folded and packaged product while others stitched. (Some of the girls in the center have court cases that are open, so photos are not an option.)
I was then taken to the sample room where I met Jayeeta, Project Director, and Sanjoy (pronounced Sanjay), Business Lead. While sitting on a large cushion on the floor with pillows and milk tea, we discussed Made for Freedom products, fabrics, and potential for partnering in the future.
It was a wonderful first meeting and a great way to begin my Creabeli Connections Tour. I look forward to the sample products they will be making for us. If only all meetings could be held on comfy cushions with milk tea!