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There are few days at Sari Bari that are as exciting as the day a woman receives her first wages after a month of training. We always celebrate each woman on her first day with a cake, marking the freedom journey that has begun, but it is that first payday that seems to make the strongest impression. After a month, what was only a possibility, freedom, becomes more tangible. Hope becomes a reality in the form of a paycheck earned, empowerment owned, freedom claimed and a new life begun on her own terms. It never fails to bring some tears, the celebratory kind and a hearty handshakes and embraces from the staff and their new sister’s on the freedom road. Many women have walked this road in the last 6 years and it never fails to be a significant marker.

In the last couple months we have celebrated multiple graduations, the next steps completed, 6 months of learning and growing, find completion in more handshakes, some reflection and a celebratory meal. Hope becomes more tangible still…a new belief in the strength to make it down this hard road for the long haul. And truly, the completion of training is huge; once training is completed 92% of women of who work at Sari Bari stay leaving only for something better, not to return to the trade that held them captive.

And so it is with the women now completing 3, 4, 5, 6 and going on 7 years at Sari Bari, hope is lived into each day. Hope made tangible by the daily choice to live free, to live empowered, and to not only continue to seeking health, wholeness and freedom for themselves but to seek to begin to have the capacity to seek it for other women who have not yet found a way out. These women are themselves Hope embodied, many living in the red light areas, yet out of the trade, their journey’s and commitment to show up at work everyday, to make the hard choices for their families and press forward into something better tells a very loud story HOPE. They are HOPE in the red light areas, they are HOPE for the women who do not yet know that they too can live free.

Sari Bari is thankful to be apart of so many freedom stories, to share in so many unspoken and unshared moments of grace within the walls of each Sari Bari production unit. Hope lived out here in Kolkata, India, in a way that only those who known the bondage of a life without hope can live HOPE FULL.

This month we are celebrating HOPE and just a few of the organizations that are making hope tangible in the red light areas in India. We are honored and thankful to be able to share some of their beautiful products with you at the beginning of this holiday season for a short time and we hope that you will find your way to their websites and use your purchasing power to do good and make hope tangible for more women around India throughout the year. We are also super excited to introduce the first Sari Bari T-shirt manufactured by our friends and co-laborers for freedom at Freeset ( The Bengali Script reads “mukto dhara” which means the “way of freedom” and that is truly what Sari Bari and Freeset and ISantuary and Love Calcutta Art are seeking to provide, a way to freedom and new life. We hope you love this T-shirt as much as we do and will help us spread the message of freedom by wearing one and telling the beautiful stories of hope that are behind it. So please join us at the Fall Freedom Bazaar beginning November 15, 2012 and while you are adding a beautiful Sari Bari product to your cart we hope you will also find some other treasures for these organizations going freedom work in India to share with your loved ones this Christmas season!

We are thankful for your partnership and that you use your purchasing power for Good and making HOPE tangible here at Sari Bari.

Be well my friends,

Sarah for all of us at Sari Bari