Sec. Clinton remembers Sari Bari

Sec. Clinton remembers meeting some of the folks at Sari Bari in the TIP report:

When I met with the people who were working with victims in Kolkata, I met several young women from the United States who had been inspired by reading about and watching and going online and learning about what was happening in the efforts to rescue and protect victims. And they were there in Kolkata, working with organizations, NGOs, and the faith community, to do their part. So this is a moment for people to ask themselves not just what government can do to end modern slavery, but what can I do, what can we do together.

What makes Sari Bari successful?

What makes Sari Bari successful?

I am often asked this question.  Rarely can I come up with a sussinct answer because there are so many things, so much thought, thousands and thousands of people hours, and the right chemistry of people and philosophy that make up the answer.

At least for this week the answer seemed clear .  Simple answer:  Safety, Celebration and Quality Control.  These are three things that shape the culture of who we are significantly and translate into the layers of why we are still around almost 7 years later.

From the very beginning Sari Bari was supposed to be a safe place.  A place where women could find something that is extremely rare, if not impossible, a safe place.   A place to fall apart, a place to rebuild a life, a place with no condemnation or shame, a  place that was for women to be surrounded with love, a space to heal, learn to stand and walk forward into a new life.  Sari Bari is a safe place where we all have found friendship, family, healing and a space were both our light and darkness is welcomed.

Celebration is just the natural fruit of what you do when someone starts a new life.  We love to celebrate and honor each other. Freedom Birthday’s are our favorite, a way to celebrate new women who start training and to remember and reflect every year afterward on the journey that has been walked and fought for on a daily basis.   Celebration is a nessasary element of community life, a way to mark time passing, to honor those we love, to shake free the darkness as we eat and eat and dance with abandoned joy.  Celebration is not “work” , it is life together, shared time at a table or on floor as we do.  We celebrate every little thing, sometimes formally, sometimes informally and always with joy.  Families celebrate together and at Sari Bari we are nothing if not a family.

Quality control might be the less emotionally inviting part of this story but it is an element of the story that has been essential to Sari Bari’s ability to continue to employ more and more women.  From the beginning we have been committed to making something of both beauty and quality.  Something the women can be proud of and the consumer will come back to buy again and again.  We are not interested in sympathy buys or raising money by selling crappy products.  We want you to love your stuff from Sari Bari and celebrate that your purchase did make a difference.  So we focus on quality control, lots and lots of hands and eyes going over every product to make sure that it is something we ourselves would buy.  Attention to detail, color, beauty, construction, consumer feedback and even the emotional temperature at Sari Bari on certain days contribute to pulling off making something beautiful that we are proud of selling.  Quality control is a silent partner in how we tell the story of Sari Bari but she does not mess around!

Simple little things that make a big difference in why we are still around and employing upwards of 90 women who have freedom and a way forward into a new life!