Project information

Malabar Memsahib Welfare Improvements

Kerala Crafts set up Malabar Memsahib Welfare in 2011, and it has gone from strength to strength. The marginalised women working there, make fairtrade lingerie which is sold in the UK. The needs are straightforward: a small cubicle for trying on garments for local women and eight sewing machines

There is no set timescale on this - but the improvements would be appreciated as soon as possible to help cope with increased demand for work.

Charity information: Kerala Crafts

Kerala Crafts logo
  • Need


    We didn't know when the project was set up, how successful it was going to be. This has led to an increased workload to cope with UK orders, as well as meeting the demands of the local customers. (Since opening, the women have gained a good reputation in their locality for excellent stitching and customer service). More marginalised ladies could be employed if more sewing machines were available, and more local women who need a 'modesty' cubicle for trying on, would feel happier to shop there.


    With extra funding, a small cubicle could be constructed within the shop to become a ladies' dressing room, more sewing machines could be purchased which means more needy women could be employed (they receive daily requests from women asking for work). Improved lighting, together with extra sockets and minor making good and redecoration of the property would complete the improvements.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To further enhance & improve the work area for marginalised women


    » Fund raising is an essential part of what we do, as we are a small charity, and receive no external funding. We all work as volunteers.

    What success will look like

    The success will be reflected in the employing of more women to keep up with demand.
    We would hope to see more local women shopping there, as they see a 'trying on' area installed

  • Impact


    The improved workshop and shop area will be a real asset to the ladies. This will ensure the project is sustainable in years to come. This is important as most of the women are the only bread winner of the family. With improved facilities, the community will be self-sufficient and will enable the artisans to concentrate on their work, without the added worry of funding improvements. A regular source of income assures them of a stable future. Improvements will ensure future UK orders can be met


    There are no obvious risks. The lady in charge is facing difficulties of health within her family in the future, but the project will run without her if she takes leave to care for her poorly husband.


    Regular emails and an annual newsletter with a mention of their name if requested. Photos too can be supplied.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £1,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £500 Workshop re-arranging premises space
      £500 Workshop make cubicle, extra sewing machines
  • Background


    Ponnani, on the Malabar coast, is not in a tourist area of Kerala, where much income is derived from the tourist trade. There is very little work in this area, other than agriculture and fishing.
    Therefore it is important to sustain this project, to give much-needed work to women who would otherwise be living on or below the poverty line. In Ponnani the female population is 52%, slightly higher than the all-India average, making this employment even more necessary.


    Directly, the ladies who work at the project will benefit from a regular income, as well as being empowered to develop their own creativity. Their skills are translated into a realistic wage, meaning they can provide for their families, particularly, education for their children. Their wages will also improve their standard of living, which in turn, benefits the community.
    The local customers will enjoy to shop there, and the trying on facility will avoid any embarrassment.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Kerala Crafts originally set up this project in January '11 and have supported it over the years. We know all the women personally, and have built up a good working relationship based on trust and respect. e are keen to see the good work started continue into the future, and do all we can to help them. We have initiated a welfare fund which provides financial help when unexpected expenses arise eg. health & incurring travel costs. We care about these women & we are the obvious charity to help

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Christine Snow

    Founder, Trustee. Christine does most of the work, organising things here and in India over the last 16 years of the charity's history as a volunteer

    John Owen

    Trustee Secretary. John's invaluable knowledge of Kerala, through many visits, is a real asset. His precision in administration is a great resource

    Lynda Hansen

    Trustee Chair. Lynda's love of India is through her family links with the area, and so her passion and enthusiasm are real strengths that she brings.

'This is an assured source of income, when often the local stitchings become really low -we can still do the knicker order and make up the money to run our family'.

Seetha, worker at Malabar Memsahib Welfare