THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It was during the Chennai floods that people poured into her office to drop off clothes. Her office at Kuravankonam was one of the collection points for clothes to be sent to the needy. But, while sifting through the clothes, Asha Jomis found that a significant portion comprised worn out clothes which cannot be used again. That was in 2015. And three years hence, she has come up with a unique concept- A Dress Bank for the lesser privileged, where you get brand new clothes, stitched based on your requirements free of cost.
“Whenever there is a call to donate clothes, people often consider it as an occasion to dump their used, worn out articles. When you give, give respectfully. We intend to provide brand new clothes to the beneficiaries,” says Asha who is the founder of Women’s Business Incubation Program(WBIP). Dress Bank is the initiative of WBIP.
Asha’s ‘Dress Bank’ is a move to ensure your financial status need not define your future anymore. Now financial constraints will not dampen your spirits on your first day at office, college or while attending interviews. You can get brand new clothes stitched from a boutique, get trained by experts for interviews and get a makeover as well, all free of cost. The program envisages at providing attire for womenfolk from lesser privileged backgrounds for special occasions. “When it comes to donating old clothes, people just stream in. We are fighting against the concept of giving away clothes that cannot be worn and instead give new clothes to the beneficiaries,” says Asha. Asha says she took inspiration from the global nonprofit ‘Dress for Success’.
In the city, ‘Navomi Fashion Boutique’ run by Namitha Kiran hosts the Dress Bank. “Give and take with respect,” says Namitha who has joined in the initiative. The womenfolk who needs support need only head towards Namitha’s boutique. “They just need to come here and we will get the dress prepared based on their requirement. We just need to be informed ten days in advance,” says Namitha.
Along with the Dress Bank, sessions will be organised every month where the two-hour program will delve on tips to prepare for interviews followed by a makeover session by a professional stylist. “After we launched the program, there were many calls enquiring if they could pay to attend these sessions. If they want to pay and attend, that is also fine. The money will then be channelised to funding the Dress Bank,” says Asha. As many as seven women attended the first session which was held last month at Navomi Boutique.
The team is currently trying to build a network of donors who can pool money to fund the initiative. The donors can either donate new clothes or dress materials or they can fund a new dress. At present they have around three donors, which Asha admits comprises of themselves. But she is looking forth to have more donors and thereby help sculpt a platform to donate and receive outfits.
After Dress Bank gains a foothold in the capital city, Asha hopes to spread the network of Dress Bank across the state. “Even people needn’t associate with us for this. Anyone having a boutique can start such an initiative to help the needy,” she says.