Walking into Sari Bari USA’s store across from Fort Wayne’s Law Enforcement/Firefighters Memorial of Allen County, I was met with a variety of color from every direction.
Sari Bari USA Executive Director David Grant had visited the Rotary Club of Fort Wayne, so I had to follow him back to the store at 1008 N. Wells St. to see what it was about.
The nonprofit organization hired Grant and moved its operations to Fort Wayne where it opened the store in August. It helps Indian women who have escaped the sex trade or are vulnerable to being trafficked. Part of its mission is to teach these women to turn old cotton saris into products to sell. The products are cut and hand-sewn.
Grant showed me a red bed covering with a variety patterns flowing through it. Sari Bari does most of its sales online at https://saribari.com. The storefront, which gets lots of help from volunteers, is a chance for shoppers to view the products up close, Grant said. Hobo bags for $52, dinner napkin sets for $42, and table runners for $50 are just a few of the unique items it carries. It also has makeup bags, baby bags, duffles and lots more.
According to Sari Bari USA’s annual report, it helps artisan partners not only with job skills but also HIV and housing support along with the emotional and mental health needs of the women. It employed 110 women last year and it shipped 18,632 products from India to places around the world.
The shop is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. For more information or to volunteer, call 260-420-8518.