The Women of Silaiwali


Silaiwali, a social enterprise based in Delhi, has a combined mission that covers both environmental and social issues. According to Remake, a non-profit organisation, up to 80 per cent of all textiles end up in landfill. These scraps can lay there for more than 200 years while they decompose, emitting harmful greenhouse gases.

Following the principles of fair trade, SilaiWali promotes circular production by recycling this dead stock and turning it into beautiful dolls and ethical gifts.

  • Woman sitting down using a sewing machine to stitch yellow fabric scraps.
  • Lion dolls and girl dolls ready to be dressed, inside a wicker basket.

The Silaiwali studio is a small space with a big purpose. The Afghan women who work here, gather together and upcycle fabrics to create unique home decorations and dolls.

“It’s a space where they can breathe a little, put on their music, have a community lunch together, and since their homes are walking distance, they can attend to their children too." - Bish Moitra, founder

Shop Silaiwali Dolls here

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Afghan families comprise thirty-seven per cent of the refugees in India. New Delhi is a temporary home for these refugees who have fled from their home country and are hoping to find sanctuary in developed nations with open immigration policies.

Under the guidance of UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency), Silaiwali provide monthly incomes for these women, who are often the only earners in their families. They follow principles of fair wages, a clean working environment and observe a zero tolerance towards child labour.

You hear these women talk about their stories here.

  • Pile of rag dolls ready to be dressed on a table.
  • Two Afghan women dressing rag dolls on a table.