MD and driving force behind corporate apparel & accessories company, Fashion channel and founder of the Saris for Good Karma project, Kanchana Moodliar, has been awarded the 2011 Inyathelo Award for Youth in Philanthropy.
Kanchana initiated what she calls a consciousness movement to inspire women from poor communities with little education to develop skills to make money. Her aim was to create a self-employed sewing community of women in Chatsworth using old saris donated from the Indian community to make pillow cases, table clothes and many other designer items.
Kanchana has got her whole company and much of her business network behind the project, persuading young designers to give of their time and expertise to help train the women in sewing, beading and business skills. She also makes sure every participant in the programme receives a free ‘fashion designer pack” which includes everything from cotton to sewing machines.
Some of the women who have graduated from the programme now run their own businesses while others have been inspired to teach others what they have learnt. Kanchana is always exploring new revenue streams for the women such as flea markets or fund-raising events such as fashion shows. She is set on taking the project to other communities in the future.