OM India

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transforming lives and communities
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Lydia - Empowering Dalit Women
Tuesday, 16 November 2010 05:20

LYDIA is one of Mercy Community Development’s dedicated women’s empowerment training and production center located in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. The center is providing a range of vocational training programs ranging from tailoring, jewelry crafting, hair and skin care. All of these training programs are effectively helping underprivileged Dalit women earn a better income, empowering them like never before.  2010 has been an eventful year for the women in LYDIA. The women have succeeded in exporting several of their products and have received good reviews. These achievements have elevated their confidence. Here is a look at their most recent productions.

“Ballu” – Slum Bears
When a team of women from Scotland visited the LYDIA work in one of Mumbai’s slum, they did not realize how talented the women from this poverty-stricken settlement were. While there, they taught the women to make ‘bears’. In September 2010, they had a great ‘bear launch’ in Scotland. To their surprise, the 100 bears made and created by the women in the Mumbai slum, sold out within an hour. The launch has created a huge demand for the bears in Scotland and in other places. Consequently, the new project of making bears has started in the Mumbai slum bringing better income and hope to the women of the slums.

Silk bead scarves are being made from Indian silk saris at the LYDIA sub-centers in Mumbai slums. The scarves have a great appeal in the international market which is bringing more production requests for the Mumbai team.

A woman from Australia spent a week at LYDIA teaching the women different techniques in jewelry and ornament making. The trainees were ecstatic about the new ideas shared with them and have started to design and create their own jewelry pieces. The high sales of these delicate pieces of jewelry in the past few months indicate that this could become a viable business venture in the future.

Baby Quilts

The LYDIA team has had several people tell them of their need for quilts for their own children or related families. In 2009, an American woman taught the women quilting techniques. This year, she returned to help the women produce high quality quilts with Indian cotton fabrics. The LYDIA women love making these quilts. This product, too, is selling well.

For the entire range of LYDIA’s products log onto or write to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it