It has a workshop in the Soba Bazaar area of north Kolkata. Staff members are former patients – widows and women who have been deserted by their husbands, or whose husbands are too sick to find regular work. Students who have had difficulty with academic education or dropped out of school are also employed. They are learning new skills and are continuously improving those they have learned, while earning valuable income for themselves and their families, in a context in which uneducated and unskilled women are typically not employable and constantly vulnerable to exploitation.
The Handicrafts project has 25 sewing trainees and four art trainees (all former patients or students from Calcutta Rescue medical programs and schools) – in addition to 13 regular daily staff. Not only does the project produce a wide range of handicrafts that are sold both in India and abroad, it also makes clothes and other items for the patients and students at our clinics and schools. Its product range includes cards, bags, cushion covers, table linen and many other quality products. A new and innovative range that recycles old silk into attractive shawls, scarves and bags, has proved to be very popular among customers in Europe and North America.