Anchal Project is a a Louisville, KY-based clothing line that provides textile careers to commercial sex workers (by partnering with groups like Anoothi/Vatsalya in Ajmer, Rajasthan and New Light in Kolkata, West Bengal). They help these women find alternative ways of creating capital and gaining new skills. Anchal's mission is to address the exploitation of women around the by using design thinking to create employment opportunities, products, and services that support economic empowerment.
Anchal’s co-founders met at the Rhode Island School of Design during a graduate seminar that explored design in the developing world. Inspired by the shared belief that design can be a catalyst for social and environmental innovation, the four women traveled to India and met with local leader, Urmi Basu of the New Light Foundation. It was here in the narrow alleyways of the Kalighat red light district, Urmi shared the extreme oppression women faced and the tangible void in economic alternatives available to this marginalized community.
They are providing critical impact in the lives of an extremely vulnerable population, women trapped in an endless cycle of abuse and exploitation. “Anchal's program not only gives women skills and jobs, it provides critical confidence through design and creation. Anchal artisans have transformed into creative and independent women who now run the household that once kept them in confinement.