In 2006, Sudara partnered with a sewing center in India and taught six women how to sew a pattern for loungewear pants they named Punjammies®. The previous year, their founder, Shannon Keith, had returned from a trip to India and heard story after story of women who were sold into sex slavery. She also heard stories of women who were at a high risk of being forced into the sex trade by their families or picked up off the streets by local pimps. The reasons they were at a high risk? Because they lacked an education or the resources or the skills to, truly, have a choice.
Shannon returned home from that trip and formed a small team of family and friends. Together, they looked for groups in India that were compelled to have a positive impact and help women looking for a way out of the Red Light Districts. The team knew that safe, steady and living-wage employment would be a pathway to freedom and offer choices for women and their families.
Their focus and goal remains: empower women to live in freedom from sex-slavery through safe, sustainable living-wage employment. Every pair of Punjammies®, robes and slouch pants are made proudly in India. And every style is named in honor and celebration of a woman at one of the centers. Every day, stitch by stitch, women are gaining confidence not only in themselves but also in their newfound hope and freedom.
Hundreds of women have found freedom through living-wage employment. Many of the women have graduated from the training programs and started their own tailoring business; others have taken technology or cosmetology courses (also offered at some of the centers) and found great jobs in those fields.