The latest round of WORK+SHELTER patterns are ready! Our friend, expert knitter Allyson Dykhuizen, designs these great, one-of-a-kind patterns just for us. We then translate them into Hindi so that the women at our New Delhi location can begin knitting.

Check out Allyson’s patterns here! Proceeds from pattern purchases help support WORK+SHELTER.

As you can see, we’ve updated our website design. The goal was to better distinguish WORK+SHELTER’s mission with that of our partner The Lotus Odyssey. As stated on our homepage, WORK+SHELTER is “creating safe spaces in India where women can come to live and work.”

At W+S women are taught to use the skills they have or develop new ones, and contribute to the success of the organization by effectively filling their role within the larger production process. Apparel and accessories produced by the women are then sold to overseas markets, including our sister organization, The Lotus Odyssey.

If you’re interested in supporting WORK+SHELTER by purchasing individual pieces please visit The Lotus Odyssey’s website. Wholesale inquiries and other questions should be directed to [email protected]. Thanks for visiting!

Seema and Theresa

Seema getting her dose of sunshine while she knits the forthcoming Corner to Corner Wrap

Ritu’s old job paid less than $1 per day. Her fair-trade W+S wage is almost 10 times what she was earning.

I haven’t been this happy in months, probably a lot longer. Progress on WORK+SHELTER until now has been hard to define. I make organizational charts, supply chain work flows, budgets, two year plans, site wire-frames, and send out status emails to the team. They develop product samples, do bunches of legal research, and design branded print materials. We busy ourselves with research and planning, that when we are finally able to act our vision can be realized in full. Before I came to India I had even thought of the color of the paintings I hoped to have on the walls.

But when my plane touched down, progress seemed to slow. It took over two hours to even get out of the airport, days to get a phone, many more to get access to a reliable internet connection. Everything takes longer. The women duplicating our samples don’t have email, the family friend who owns the space our shelter will be in was too busy to meet us, and legal opinions were confusing and contradictory. Estimates for the same scope of legal work have ranged from a 25 rupee handling fee, to nearly 50,000.

Because there is so much at stake, the last two weeks have been fraught with anxiety and pretty hard to write about.

Nevertheless, starting tomorrow, the brick and mortar realization of our vision will exist. Technically it exists now, but occupation begins tomorrow. The space is dirty and filled with cobwebs, located on a road that’s only half paved, and in an area misnamed on Google Maps because the government doesn’t legally recognize it’s existence – but it is real! There is ample natural light and enough room for an office, workshop, kitchen, bathroom, and two big bedrooms.

Here’s a super rough sketch of the floor plan (if someone wants to make me a fancy one, feel free. I’ll send dimensions.). In the scope of all things and places, it’s small, I know. But I hope you will enjoy the coming WORK+SHELTER progress as much as me. 🙂


The view from the building where we may have the shelter