KOCO (Knit One Change One) Is a social enterprise that employs and trains women in the south of India to knit for luxury brands.
With training and work activities, the women in this social enterprise business expand their skills and build their co-working networks. This leads to an increase of their abilities, on a village-by-village basis, their sense of independence and self-esteem grow too.
Overcoming Isolation, Joining Forces
Since Covid brought India to its knees, this workforce of 280 women has been reduced to 25. This not only has a financial impact on the women, but it also has a personal cost in their lives. Unfortunately, many of these women deal with subjugation and violence in their home life, so their work is a liberating support system and refuge.
Danielle Chiel, founder of KOCO came up with the brilliant idea to support these women with smartphones. Danielle realised if each woman had their own smartphone to use, they would be able to work remotely and overcome many of the lockdown limitations they experienced.
The Smartphone Initiative
Having smartphones to use allowed them to talk and chat with their knitting sisters and supervisors. Quality control and workflow could be supported via the phones with photo updates of their work. The problem is their simple village lifestyle did not afford them the budget to buy the phones.
Social Enterprise, Empowerment Of Women
As serendipity would have it, I was thinking about our focus with The School of Renovating. This is to support western women with a skill that generates six-figure incomes, through renovating for profit. I felt there must be an opportunity to also support women in developing countries. This is something meaningful we can do to give these women the opportunity to reinstate their work and personal networks and their ability to earn a living.
Our initial contribution to their village-based social enterprise through KOCO has now supported 24 women to be back to work. Our next milestone is to empower 180 women (one village) to be productive in work and empowered in their communications.
The synergy this project brings for women to express their creativity and to support each other is inspiring for women wherever they are.
Would you like to help make a difference? The donation page is now ready for smartphone donations!
Send us a message at [email protected]