At Eastern Soul, we endeavour to nurture ancient crafts while creating a sustainable business to support the incredible artisans of India and Nepal, we hope that these phenomenal customs will continue to be passed through generations. Each and every piece of jewellery is handcrafted; we do not mass-produce any of the designs. Each piece of jewellery is hand selected, partnering with small family business to ensure the utmost ethical standards are kept while obtaining the highest possible quality.
We also curate and collect vintage and antique tribal jewellery. Laced with ceremonial markings, these pieces embody their ancient path and are truly one of a kind. While we can’t guarantee the ethical conditions under their manufacture, we can confirm a high level of authenticity.
We are proud to have partnered up with non-for profit organisation the “Institute for Philanthropy and Humanitarian Development” (IPHD) based in the rural village of Bhikamkor Rajasthan, India. We work closely with the micro enterprise “Saheli women” which is a women’s empowerment project aimed to nurture traditional crafts through the art of textiles. We provide the women with training programs to improve their skills in sewing and embroidery techniques.
The Saheli centre is a place of acceptance, free of cultural taboos it invites all woman to have a space of self expression and creativity. The women are paid ethical wages for their work and through this project we aim to empower these women by giving them financial independence and skills training.
Each piece of jewellery ordered with be wrapped in a hand stitched and embroidered pouch made by our sisters from the Saheli centre. Through your order you are helping them on their journey of empowerment and independence. Thank you.
Rukiya is 26 years old and has lived in Bhikamkor since she was married at 16. Rukiya lives with her husband who owns a grocery store, together they support their four young daughters. Rukiuya attended a Muslim school for two years where she learned to speak Arab, Hindi and the local village language. Rukiya is 1/14 Muslim families in the predominately Hindu village of 2000 households. Being a minority, Rukiya says she often faces discrimination, but does not feel this is a problem within the Saheli Center. Rukiya has encouraged many others to join as she enjoys being able to 'learn and earn'. By doing so she hopes to give her children a better life by sending them to private school to complete the education that she was denied. Rukiya loves to work in the kitchen garden and has recently purchased a cow with her income from the center so she can provide her daughters with nutritous and healthy meals.
Neetu Rhati is from Bhikamkors merchant community and another key member of the Saheli Center. Neetu is bright, self motivated and determined to better her skills at the Center despite juggling her education where she achieves distinction. She is one of our most intelligent and dedicated girls, working hard to learn new skills and create new designs. Before Neetu and her mother joined the Center they had no guaranteed income. Now Neetu is able to contribute to the household funds and start accumulating savings for university.
Mamta Vaishnav is 20 years old and has lived in Bhikamkor with her family her entire life. Due to an unfortunate accident involving her mother, Mamta was only able to complete class 10 and left school to help her family with household chores while her mother recovered. Mamta wanted to continue her education but by the time her mother had recovered she was arranged to marry at age 18. Only a year later her husband was involved in a labouring job in Mumbai leaving her widowed. Despite coping with her husbands death she remains a strong and determined woman. Mamta has grown into a confident and dedicated member during her time at the Saheli Center. She never ceases to take initiative, has strong embroidery skills and currently leads our stitching program with her bubbly personality and shining smile.
Rekha Soni is 16 years old and is also known as the 'spicy chilli' because she is fierce and not afraid to speak her mind. Rekha lives at home with her parents and three siblings. Being the oldest girl means that she devotes a lot of her time to chores and household duties. The rest of her time is spent dedicated to her studies or stitching for Saheli Women. Rekha's study by correspondence is supported by her parents and sponsored by IPHD which allows her to balance her hectic schedule. Rekha is one of the most independent girls at the center and is developing into a capable young woman. Although her parents expect her to marry once finishing 12th grade, Saheli has given Rekha the opportunity to dream.
Kiran Sharma is the most educated of the Saheli Women with a Bachelor of Arts and hopes to one day complete her Masters Degree. For now, Kiran lives in a joint family with her in laws and two children, whilst her husband lives in another city to provide for them. Despite being well educated, living in a rural community puts Kiran at threat of falling below the poverty line, and she relies on Saheli Designs to provide for her children.
Leela is a mother of three daughters who lives with her husband, mother inlaw and buffalo on their farm situated 7 kms from the Saheli Centre. The family lives in a simple mud hut with no electricity and no running water. Despite their lack of facilities she manages to send her daughters to school with the help of IPHD, bath her buffalo in the local pond 3 kilometres from their house every day and find time to be one of the main tailors for Saheli Women. Leela always gives 100 percent in her work, takes a lot of pride in producing the best quality she is capable of and is eager to improve her skills.