After all the big construction projects in Little Flower were completed it was important to establish new areas of work and ways of being productive for all those who had participated in the construction and those whose disabilities no longer prevented them from working.

This project began more than ten years ago. Today we have about 40 weavers (depending on demand) working at 24 looms. Workplaces for 60 to 70 people with leprocy have been created in the entire workshop. These people’s monthly income comes to roughly 60,000 rupees (€1,000).

All in all 300 people have been trained to work at the looms. The workers, mostly women, live in Sunderpur and in other colonies. They are all available to work when the number of incoming orders rises. There are 300 spinning wheels, which have been distributed throughout Sunderpur. Many of them are in the women’s homes, which allows them to do their work as it fits in with the needs of their children and running their households. Each month roughly 1,000 meters of silk are produced and about 2,000 meters are always in stock.

Silk dyeinge

There are three ways of dyeing silk:

  1. the cocoon
  2. the thread
  3. the material

This allows for different effects. In Sunderpur only the cocoons are dyed. Dyeing the thread is too complicated. This type of dyeing is outsourced.

Spinning and weaving

The workers’ monthly wages are based on the quantity and quality of the thread that they spin. The wages of the weavers and those who prepare the silk for weaving are also paid on the basis of the quantity and quality of the woven fabric. They always work in teams. On average 2.5 meters of silk are woven per day.

The different types of cocoons

  1. Assam cocoons – about 300 kilograms of Assam cocoons are required for 300 workers. One kilogram costs 200 rupees (€3.34).
  2. Tashar cocoons are counted. 100,000 cocoons cost 65,000 rupees (€1,085). However, empty coccoons are less expensive than full ones. One empty cocoon costs 65 paise.

Half a kilogram of thread can be produced from 1,000 cocoons.

In addition to the cost of the raw materials, there costs for transportation, washing, dyeing and administration. And then there are also the wage

The local market

A few years ago Little Flower’s first small store was opened in Raxaul, which sold goods worth 100,000 rupees (€1,670) in one and a half months.

In the meantime a few further stores have opened in nearby towns and cities. The expectations for the local market are high, and the sales people are very dedicated and enthusiastic.


The last time I was in Little Flower, in the summer of 2005, the workers proudly showed me their products to be exported. They had made colored silk shawls for a fair trade organization in Sweden.

The organization MESH (maximizing employment to serve the handicapped), helps organize the transportation as well as the production of designer products and quality control. Jacquline J. Bonney is the organization’s executive secretary.

I met Jacquie in Dehli, and we had a good in depth discussion on the opportunities and potential for Little Flower in the international free trade sphere. I am very happy that we were able to connect and that Jacquie has made training in Dehli available to young workers in Little Flower and has also arranged for one of her designers to go to Sunderpur to train the people there.

So I see great opportunities and real potential for exports from Little Flower to fair trade stores in Europe, which can be found everywhere in the meantime. MESH was the missing link and can now be a great support with its experience in Indian projects that it has gathered over the decades in meeting the expectations of customers in the western world.

You can look at the product-fotos in the section Gallery.

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