The theme of “new life” is an easy one to trace in my life lately. My home is currently full of newness — a new life in the literal sense after Aria joined us, a fresh “rebirth” for me as a mother of three, a new life for my older two as they navigate the world of older-sisterhood, a new path for AJ and I to forge together as a family of five.
There’s another form of “newness” too, woven into our lifestyle that, although different than the fresh start we have currently, is made even more impactful when compared with the newness around me now.
A piece that I use everyday — something every mother needs and uses — was sewn by a woman who was given a new life of her own; pulled out of the horrors of Kolkata’s red light district.
Sari Bari, a brand I’ve followed and admired for several years, has created a safe haven to empower women rescued from the expansive sex trafficking industry in Kolkata. They train these women with a marketable skill (sewing), give them a safe place to live, work, and recover, and provide them with post-trafficking treatment to ensure their new life is met with hope and true health.
Each bag, blanket, and pillow that Sari Bari sells was made by a woman who is, in the most literal sense, creating a new life for herself and her family. It’s the most glaring contrast of darkness and hope, being trapped and experiencing freedom.
And I’ve decided to use this piece, something so meaningful and beautiful, in the most menial way: as a bag to carry spare diapers, swaddles, and snacks. It seems almost like a step down for the work of art that it is, but perhaps that’s what gives Sari Bari’s pieces their final mark of beauty. The maker’s themselves are given a chance at real, true, beautiful, messy life — and then we, the ones who buy and use their handiwork, give their pieces a new life of their own, likely one that’s just as real, true, beautiful, and messy. To carry dirty diapers and containers of cheerios is a noble task in itself.
Sure, a diaper bag can be any shape/style and from just about any retailer, but I’m a firm believer that if there’s a way to support a greater cause with even the most practical of purchases, you should do it. Give new life with your diaper bags, support the freedom of someone else when you buy new clothes, spend your dollars where they’ll be put to good use.
Each piece from Sari Bari is made from vintage, upcycled saris (another piece of the “new life” metaphor that I clearly can’t get enough of). The artisans use a technique called Kantha to handsew five layers of sari together, giving the piece true uniqueness and quality. In true Kantha tradition, each piece is signed by the maker as a finishing mark, as if the seamstress is leaving the mark of her freed, empowered life in each piece she makes.
In addition to job training, Sari Bari also provides “wholelife care”, leadership training, school support for their children, well woman checkups, and HIV/aids treatment and care. (To partner with Sari Bari and support their artisans in one of these ways, click here). This partnership allows the team and staff at Sari Bari to truly help these women start over and build a new life.
Using techniques passed down for generations, the women at Sari Bari use traditional patterns to create modern pieces like bags, backpacks, bed and table linens, baby blankets and more.
Use the code “SIMPLYLIV” for 20% off
The fact that something as simple as a new diaper bag to make my life easier (it converts to a crossbody too, for even more versatility!), has such a powerful story behind it is almost more than I can wrap my mind around.
If you’re on the hunt for a new wallet, purse, bag for travel, or even a new bed spread or baby shower gift for a friend, consider shopping with this incredible brand that does so much more than just create gorgeously unique products.
And when you do, don’t forget to use SIMPLYLIV for 20% off (not an affiliate link, I just want you to save money while shopping for good). ;)
*This post was sponsored by Sari Bari. As always, all words, photos, and creative direction are my own. Thank you for supporting these amazing brands!*