Our Indoi packaging design is inspired by the memories of my mother wrapping up her saris after an occasion in cotton cloth to store and preserve them. I wanted to find a way to deliver our pieces to our customers replicating this ceremonious ritual.
It is an honour for us to have the children from the SRSC hand block print our cloth bags and furthermore to have their mothers then stitch their craft work.
Here is the story behind the SRSC.
My trip to Pakistan in early 2019 has proved an incredibly formative time for Indoi as a brand. It was there that I fully grasped the beauty of the Banaras silk, the textile upon which I based an entire collection; furthermore, this was the moment in which I came across the Society for the Rehabilitation of Special Children (SRSC) with whom we have since formed a strong brand partnership and about whom we wanted to talk to you today.
The SRSC is a Pakistani organisation funded by a group of like minded people, dedicated to providing challenged children access to education, healthcare and vocational studies free of cost.
I was lucky enough to have met Talat Hashmini: President of the SRSC and the granddaughter of the woman who had originally founded this very special place. Talat showed me around the entire school where I was able to meet all the children and their mothers. There is even an on-site doctor and dentist should any problems arise. At the end of the day, I was (and still am) completely and utterly in awe of the voluntary work being done at the SRSC to support the development of these individuals
"The SRSC has been able to provide specialised services funded by charitable donations for the past 64 years. They do not receive any money from the government. The students of the SRSC attend lessons specially designed to their needs and are encouraged to partake in sports and local and international tournaments. Onsite there are facilities such as a medical dispensary, dental office and a physiotherapy room where students receive free treatment to aid their disabilities be it mental or physical. Most importantly the SRSC provides free transport facilitating wheelchairs for all students. Each morning, the children are collected from their villages- without this the children would not be able to attend this school.
The curriculum includes the art of weaving and block printing, giving students the skills required to earn for themselves.
"Everyday there is a new story behind each child....when the mothers come to me and say "he started walking today" or "today he started saying a few words!" or "he is standing on his two feet!" They are so happy, they bring sweets for us because of the achievement of that one day. This is so meaningful for me." Talat Hashmini
Particularly striking to me was the involvement of the mothers in their children’s learning: they accompany them and produce crafts out of the children’s work. In this way, each child is given a true sense of a wider purpose - something which they would have struggled to find if it weren’t for SRSC.
As a mother myself, watching the activities at the SRSC unfold really did pull on my heart strings. Indeed, it was also incredibly empowering to see just how essential the mothers are in the day to day operations, especially within the context of such a patriarchal society where women are so often overlooked. On the contrary, at the SRSC they are regarded as indispensable.
It was an easy decision to align ourselves with the society on a more formal basis; it is such a special place which allows these otherwise outcast children and their families to discover their own community and sense of purpose - things which we all know are essential to human well-being. In terms of how we operate with the SRSC, each and every offcut from the production of our garments is sent to them; once there, these offcuts are used by the children and their mothers in craft work. Moreover, the children block print our cotton packaging bags, which are also stitched by their mothers.
We are so proud to have developed such a positive and mutually beneficial relationship with the society - after all, supporting Indoi is supporting the SRSC. Likewise, we hope that you enjoy knowing more not only about the stories behind Indoi clothing but also behind the packaging; in doing so, our aim is to foster a more conscious and humane approach to fashion. We hope you join us in doing so.
You can learn more about the SRSC here