In 2005, Sudara* founder Shannon Keith took a trip to India that opened her eyes to a tragedy occurring daily to women and girls throughout the country. She could hardly believe what she witnessed in India’s Red Light Districts—modern day slavery. Shannon listened to story after story of young girls being sold into the sex trade by their families, orphans picked up off the street by pimps, and even young mothers just trying to get enough money to feed their children. Many were held against their will. Others were trapped by economic poverty. Worst of all were the stories of those who managed to escape the brothels only to return due to social stigma and having no other means to survive.
Shannon returned home and gathered friends to help do something about it. The team knew that without safe, steady employment, these women stood little chance of surviving outside of the brothels. They identified a group of like-minded partners in India who were compelled to work together with any women looking for a way out of the Red Light Districts. Together, the team created a simple pattern that could be used to teach anyone wanting to learn how to sew.
In 2006, Sudara hired the first 6 employees in their first-ever sewing center partnership and began teaching each woman the skills needed to become seamstresses and our first pair of PUNJAMMIES® loungewear was produced. Stitch by stitch, the women gained confidence not only in their newfound trade, but also in their newfound hope and freedom. Since that time, our relationships have grown into multiple sewing center partnerships and hundreds of women gaining a new community and safe place to work and heal.
*prior to 2015, known as International Princess™ Project