My Choices and our Peacecrafters
Domestic violence is a pandemic. It is present in every country, every city, every town, and in India, it is present in around half of our households. Yet, it can be hard to see...
Hidden behind the walls of our houses, which will never become homes until our families are safe, domestic violence rips families apart, fraying the most sacred of bonds. It rings society of its piece, and crumples hope.
Each story is different. Each struggle for peace is unique. None is easy. But every single one is worth it.
PeaceMakers believe in restoring families. It may take time, and it certainly will take patience and fortitude. Yet, PeaceMakers believe that with trust, safety and peace, families can be knit back together; that bonds can be re-teid; that open hurts can be stitched up with forgiveness; that out of the brokenness and hurt, change can prevail to give evidence to a beautiful thread. A story of Peace-in-the-making!
In 2005 the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act was passed, affirming every Indian woman’s right to live a life free of violence, and giving her the means to ensure it. Yet, many women still do not know of the act an its provision, or lack the means to fight for their safety. My choices PeaceMakers are dedicated to giving women and children choices to escape abuse. They overcome the obstacle of accessibility and harmful social norms by working as agents of transformation within their own communities, going door to door, school to school to seek out victims of violence and provide them with the education, counseling and legal help they need in order to live a life free from abuse. To support the work of our PeaceMakers, My Choices has trained and hired a group of women in Golconda, Hyderabad to create beautiful silk apparel. For most of these women, this is the first skills training and first pay check that they have received. These woman are our PeaceCrafters.
Each product is made from upcycled 100% silk sarees. It is one of a kind not only because of the material being used, but because each women develops her own technique in creating it. She is responsible for choosing the colors and patterns she likes, and deciding which to combine. Each woman also has a different frequency and tension with which she crochets.
Just as each story and fight for peace is unique and based on the choices of empowered woman, so too is our apparel.
Meet our PeaceCrafters
Click through the photos to meet each of our PeaceCrafters. Each story was written by the PeaceCrafter herself.
Our wonderful PeaceCrafters are from a very traditionally conservative community and upon their request, most photos do not include their faces. In the familiarity and women-friendly environment of our Centre, our PeaceCrafters often remove their veils and burqas. They hope the work of their hands is seen by people all over the world, but they are a little more reserved about their faces being as famous.
Meet our production team
Melanie Hutchinson — Head of Product Design and Development
Melanie is the head of Product Design and Development for the My Choices sustainability program. Combining a calling to the country of India with her 30 years of experience in costume design, sustainability program management and fine arts education, Melanie oversees a high quality production unit with great finesse.
Prior to being Queen Bee Seamstress at My Choices, Melanie spent 9 years working in various parts of India helping local NGO’s set up training programs leading to self-sustaining incomes by employing and empowering women. With this expertise she has built a self-sustaining business in textiles using local skills and materials to create high end and uniquely beautiful products.
Melanie is the founder of Fa-Bricks, and is qualified in Fine Arts, Textiles, Sculpture, and Art History. She loves science, space, art, creation, history, and art history, but not anywhere as much as she loves her two amazing children and two grandchildren.