Welcome to Sewing The Seeds new website! It has taken 4 years to make it to this page of our story, with many chapters on this adventure of breaking the poverty cycle that are yet to be written.
My journey with Sewing The Seeds and Gayle started in 2018, in the form of Humanism Global. There is so much that has happened since then, from highs, lows, mistakes, challenges, learnings and triumphs, all of which I will save for another time. This being the first blog (of hopefully many more to come), I want to focus on Gayle, how I met her, how I ended up in Pondicherry, working with Sewing The Seeds, why I built Humanism Global and why today we are merging with Sewing The Seeds.
Gayle - How we met and things I love about her.
In 2018, I was introduced to Gayle Factor by a mentor. If you have met Gayle, you will know exactly what I mean when I say she is the most colourful, kindest, curious and empathetic human being. The way her mind works was nothing like mine - expansive, creative and eternally optimistic. She has the ability to make strangers feel at home, and meeting her for the first time at a cafe in St Kilda was nothing short of that experience. She very humbly told me about all her work in Pondicherry and Sewing The Seeds (which you can read in her blog here). She expressed her concerns in finding a way to not only rely on fundraisers to support women with textiles education and her love-hate relationship with numbers and finance, numbers and business. Gayle’s love and strengths were my weaknesses, and vice-versa, which is why we loved learning from each other. At the end of that conversation, I asked if I could help her by volunteering in Pondicherry, and she said ‘Yes’.
How I ended up in Pondicherry & working for Sewing The Seeds
I ended up in Pondicherry with very little thought, just an internal desire to go back home - India. Here I met Bruno, the kids, the women, the village everyone was from, and within weeks I was teaching Mani aunty credit, debit and how to import files into excel sheets. If there was something I am glad I took away from working in Finance, it was being able to teach financial literacy and accounting to others. While I was at the center working during the day, I was going on beach strolls in the evenings. I noticed familiar faces on my evening beach walks, where the women who were selling balloons on the streets were the same women who were learning textiles at the center during the day at Sewing The Seeds. This is where I had a light bulb moment - the women didn’t have the time to make things to sell when they were spending all day learning and all evening making ends meet through selling balloons.
Why I built Humanism Global
After speaking to the women at STS, I learnt that they would all love to be at the center every day if they could get paid consistently. I looked at our numbers again, and realised the way we could create more consistent employment was by having more customers who purchase handmade textile products. Within a month, my brain started treating this like a startup with an impact, which I now know is called a ‘social enterprise’. The only reason I created Humanism Global and decided to ‘test the market’ with wholesale textile customers through a different business name was because I feared failing through Sewing The Seeds brand. I wanted to make sure that if I was treating this like a startup with the intention to create the greatest number of employment for the greatest number of women, I needed to go all out without tarnishing Sewing The Seeds reputation if I failed.
Why are we merging?
And 5 years later, turns out this small project/impact focused startup experiment became something bigger than we could manage with STS. While Humanism Global has had its own separate website, different customer demographic and Instagram page, the women behind STS and us are the same, our purpose is the same, and the human resources behind it being Roja, Mia, Amila, Marilyn and I always worked on both concurrently. Humanism Global and STS have grown into a plant which now needs more water, sun and love which we are hoping to provide more of by merging.
This merge with Sewing The Seeds is to strengthen our commitment to growing this seed, deepen our impact sustainably and break the poverty cycle to see an equitable world that leaves no human behind.