The freedom journey is hard.
It is far too hard for anyone to walk alone.
Right now, Sari Bari needs financial partners to sustain holistic support for the women of Sari Bari in Kolkata
I have walked alongside some of the bravest women I know. I have heard their stories and their dreams. We have soared high in celebration and we have mourned inexplicable loss. We have been present to one another in the face of unanswerable questions and unbearable disappointment. In the same way that I have been changed over the course of the journey, so too has Sari Bari. Sari Bari is a living entity, it is growing and changing, it is constantly becoming. As Sari Bari has changed, its needs have also changed. Over the past two years, we rejoice to report the following:
- Sari Bari USA consolidated operations to Fort Wayne, IN. A geographic center provides stability and allows Sari Bari to build community and partnerships in the US.
- We hired a USA based Executive Director, David Grant, to invest his energy, skills, and passions into advocating for Sari Bari and build awareness around the issue of human trafficking.
- We have made significant investments in leadership development, staff care, and capacity building in India to prepare the organization for the future.
All of these changes are exciting, but change comes with challenges, including a shift in our funding model. While I lived in Kolkata for six years, all foreign workers were self-supported. We have realized this is not a sustainable way of growing a business. Ensuring organizational stability is key to sustained freedom. We cannot sustain these organizational changes without your support. Sari Bari needs a supporting network in the US in order to provide job security and holistic support to the women in Kolkata.
Over the years we have held fundraising campaigns for specific purposes: the purchase of a building, a building renovation, holistic support services. As Sari Bari has grown, we have realized that in order support the freedom journey for women in Kolkata, we need regular donations in addition to our product sales. Social business is an incredible model for development, however there are limits to what can be accomplished purely through a business. Yes, the women of Sari Bari need reliable employment. They also need leadership development, HIV care, literacy training, health screenings, counseling, and more, as well as a healthy organization to advocate for them and the issue of human trafficking in the US.
Sales alone are not enough. To honor our commitment to the women in Kolkata, Sari Bari needs regular, monthly supporters in the US. Every dollar is important to us to sustain the work of Freedom.
For all of us on the freedom journey,
Melissa Hayward Desai
Former Director of Aftercare
Melissa lived in Kolkata from 2010-2016, serving in various roles at Sari Bari. During her tenure she was the Shipping Coordinator, Training Coordinator, and the Aftercare Director. Melissa's favorite memories from her time at Sari Bari include countless cups of tea, dance parties, and training graduation parties. These celebrations set the stage for the transformative conversations that come along with moments set aside for community. Melissa counts her days at Sari Bari as some of the most sacred of her life. She is forever marked by love in the form of generous home cooked meals, and by the depth of community at Sari Bari.
Melissa currently lives in Washington DC, and serves at the Secretary of the board of Sari Bari USA.