It is now many years since I first traveled to India to create new collections and the impact of seeing children whose future is dictated by their families’ economic circumstances has marked me deeply.
Speaking to my daughters, I told them that I had to do something personally, something that would reach those who needed reaching, namely the children, to help them secure a future, and this involves giving them access to education. And it was my daughters who in 2008 suggested that I launch the Sakûla project, which thanks to all our customers and partners is now a reality.
With the same energy and intensity she puts into creating her collections, the designer Lorena Canals works personally to give children a better future through access to education.
With more than 280 million people unable to read and write, India is the country with the greatest illiteracy rate in the world. Access to education continues to be the greatest barrier to the region’s economic and cultural development. Children are the most affected by poverty and social inequality and most of them leave school before they reach 15, thereby losing the chance to access the labour market.
Stemming from her concern, the Lorena Canals Sakûla Project began in 2008 with the construction of a nursery in Haryana, in the north of India, enabling boys and girls found in the street, lacking any manner of protection or security, to have a place to spend the day, receive a daily meal, be cared for and receive an education to help them secure a better future. Today there are 120 boys and girls attending the nursery, and work goes on to enable more children to attend year after year.
There is ongoing contact with the nursery to obtain daily updates, progress reports, new needs… The commitment means being there whether needed or not! Initiatives of this kind give any business a wider sense of purpose.
Moreover, in recent years, as part of the Sakûla Project, Lorena Canals has started collaborating with the Baba Jodh Sachiar Public School, donating part of her collections’ profits to finance the education of its pupils.
The school operates mainly thanks to the donations it receives and currently has a staff of 25 teachers instructing 450 girls and boys. The facilities are perfectly prepared both for their schooling and to ensure that their daily lives are as comfortable as possible. They not only learn there: they eat, play, make friends, have fun … indeed it is where they grow.
It is wonderful for a child to have dreams, because they will later become aspirations.
And education is undoubtedly what is going to ensure that such aspirations turn into possibilities. And this is where we play a very important role.
To raise the profile of the good cause and promote schooling in India, Lorena Canals has dedicated the Mix Collection of washable rugs to all these girls and boys: six articles that bear the name of one of the many children who are able to go to school thanks to the profits donated to the school: Ritika, RamLal, Daksh, Aarty, Nancy and Arian. Courtesy of all the people who have purchased Lorena Canals products, the Sakûla Project has changed the lives of all these children.
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