Sudara is a benefit corporation that exists to advocate on behalf of and empower women who have escaped from, or at the highest risk of, human trafficking by providing dignified employment opportunities. We are a mission-driven lifestyle brand whose success is not just measured or defined in sales and revenue, but in our positive social impact and creating long-term, sustainable change.
How we started
In 2006, we partnered with a sewing center in India and taught six women how to sew a pattern for loungewear pants we had lovingly named Punjammies®. The previous year, our founder, Shannon Keith, had returned from a trip to India and heard story after story of women who were sold into sex slavery. She also heard stories of women who were at a high risk of being forced into the sex trade by their families or picked up off the streets by local pimps. The reasons they were at a high risk? Because they lacked an education or the resources or the skills to, truly, have a choice.
She returned home from that trip and formed a small team of family and friends. Together, they looked for groups in India that were compelled to have a positive impact and help women looking for a way out of the Red Light Districts. The team knew that safe, steady and living-wage employment would be a pathway to freedom and offer choices for women and their families.
Sewn with hope and love
We'll admit, the first few pairs of Punjammies® were, well -- let's just say that they were sewn together with a lot of love. We learned a lot and changed a lot. Our focus and goal, however, remains the same: empower women to live in freedom from sex-slavery through safe, sustainable living-wage employment. Every pair of Punjammies®, robes and slouch pants are made proudly in India. And every style is named in honor and celebration of a woman at one of the centers. You can read a few of their stories here. Every day, stitch by stitch, women are gaining confidence not only in themselves but also in their newfound hope and freedom.
Hundreds of women have found freedom
It's sometimes hard to believe that over 10 years have passed since we first began. In that time, we've made multiple sewing center partnerships and, with your support, hundreds of women have found freedom through living-wage employment. Many of the women have graduated from the training programs and started their own tailoring business; others have taken technology or cosmetology courses (also offered at some of the centers) and found great jobs in those fields.
Even more work is needed
We've learned that giving a woman the opportunity to gain job skills and find a long-term career is vital for creating a pathway to freedom. However, it’s not enough to end sex slavery once and for all. To do that, it’s essential that we also break the cycle of slavery for the next generation and the generations after that. And when we became a benefit corporation, we created a non-profit, Sudara Freedom Fund. This non-profit allows us to have an even greater impact on the lives of women and children in India. It allows us to equip even more women and their children with education and housing and micro-loans -- tools needed to build and sustain a new life.
Donations made during checkout at sudara.org go towards Sudara Freedom Fund and have helped fund safe housing for women escaping trafficking, equipment for new or growing sewing centers, micro-loans and back-to-school programs. One of our most recent opportunities, the Sunetha Home, is supporting long-term, systemic change by directly addressing issues that lead to generational sex work.