Anchal: Featured (2012), Sustained (2016-2018)

Project Title: Designing Colorful Change

Project Summary: To expand employment opportunities in textiles and design for commercial sex workers in India through a natural dye initiative.

Project Objectives:  Designing Colorful Change (DCC) will provide 35 new women trainees and 100 current artisans with natural dye education and training workshops. Over the course of three years, the project will fund the employment of 35 new artisans and the education of Anchal’s current 100 artisans.

Direct Reach: 135 women and girls

Grant pays for: 

  • Infrastructure – rental space for textile center, equipment and supplies
  • Personnel
  • Training/Workshops
  • Program Development

Why we love this project: Estimates for the number of women relying on commercial sex work to survive in Ajmer, India, are as high as 30,000. Anchal Project will use the grant funds to expand their artisan program and create new, income-generating opportunities so commercial sex workers can support themselves and their families through safe and dignified employment.



2012 Featured Grant Info


Project Title: Anchal, India

Location: India

Grant Amount: $49,377

Grantee Website:

Areas of Impact: Economic Sustainability, Safety and Security

Mission of Anchal: Featured (2012), Sustained (2016-2018)
Anchal merges design, business, and education to empower marginalized and exploited women living in India.

Commercial sex workers (CSWs) in India have limited options to improve their lives. Anchal offers an income-generating option, training in regional kantha quilt making.

Anchal provides seed funding, design guidance including an annual, on-site design workshop in narrative textiles, and access to U.S. markets. Anchal is partnering with Indian NGO Anoothi to recruit CSWs, provide the workshop space and hire a local project manager to oversee the operation.

Anchal artisans make 33% more than they would as CSWs and are also provided with healthcare and education workshops. Starting in 2012, 5% of sales will be donated to an education scholarship fund for artisans' children. DFW's grant of $49,377 will support 32 CSWs in becoming full-time Anchal artisans.

Why We Love This
This is a life changing program for CSWs in India, and this is the first time DFW has supported such a program. By offering an alternative to the otherwise demeaning and dangerous work performed by CSWs, this program helps women rediscover their self-worth, their potential and creativity, and helps them become role models and providers for their families and communities.


Location Map

Project Updates:

June 2013

Executive Director Colleen Clines sent a letter to Dining for Women thanking us for our support and telling of the impact our funding will have. It is a moving and personal look inside how our efforts make a difference. Read the letter.

Anchal has been very much connected to Dining for Women recently. Colleen was kind enough to be a part of our 10th anniversary event in June. She note only presented a program on Anchal and its impact, but she and her mom, Elizabeth, participated in our marketplace. They sold out several of the inventory before lunch.

Dining for Women is not the only good news on the Anchal front. During her presentation at the conference, Colleen announced a new partnership with Urban Outfitters. For the program – called Urban Renewal – Anchal artisans will create quilted materials for vintage dress and jacket designs to be sold through all the Urban Outfitters outlets.

This post on the Anchal blog is full of stories and photos from a recent workshop. Very inspiring.