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‘Indulge in sustainably handcrafted luxury products while empowering and educating.’ This is the ethos of Serendip Boutique. The Inception of Serendip boutique was inspired by the need to help women & children in rural villages. Sri Lankan born Poongkothai Chandrahasan who founded serendip Boutique Social enterprises Pvt ltd, along with Dr. Amal Xavier Raj, has been working with Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in India since 2003 with NGO OfERR www.oferr.org
When asked about Serendip’s origin and inspiration, Ms. Poongkothai said, “One of the programs I had pioneered at our NGO OfERR was a Toms Giving Partnership. Through that partnership we have distributed lakhs of school shoes to children in government schools in India, to children who have never owned a pair of shoes in their lives. In this journey of partnership with Toms is when I learnt about the concept and impact of Social enterprise. I realized that a for profit company can make a huge contribution to the less fortunate. I’ve been working to help marginalized communities for more than 15 years, and I’ve slowly come to see that aid is drying up. Setting up a for profit social enterprise seemed the best way forward to help these vulnerable communities.”
Serendip embarked on its journey of empowerment as a social enterprise with the aim of improving the lives of people. The core idea was to generate livelihood opportunities for the Sri Lankan refugee communities living in rural India. We believe that to give is to live and that is true empowerment. With this philosophy in our mind, we requested two women from the Sri Lankan refugee camp in Tamil Nadu to make simple yet exquisite jewelry. Furthermore, it is sustainably crafted, which adds to its charm! The proceeds of sales go towards our ‘Be the change’ initiative. This initiative funds education centers and empowers children in the villages of Tamil Nadu. Through this process, the refugee women and vulnerable communities in the state, have become self-reliant and confident. We are extremely proud of their journeys. Serendip Boutique is their hard work, it is their success.
Serendip boutique has certain core principles it believes in and follows diligently. Poverty alleviation is of utmost importance and this is achieved through livelihood training and income generation. The products at Serendip are made under fair wages. You, as a consumer, buy the products at a fair price which further helps us generate employment for the women in marginalized communities. The proceeds received go back to the community in the form of funding for entrepreneurial trainings to women groups as well as educational institutions in rural South India. Not only does this help the vulnerable community, it also creates a path of giving back to host communities, which the Sri Lankan Refugees are doing through Serendip. Another important principle is that we believe in sustainable development. The boutique is strictly organic and is always environmentally friendly. These principles guide Serendip into being what they strive to be- a source of empowerment and education!
We believe that when you empower women, she can endure anything and become self- sustained without having to rely on anyone. When a man earns, many a time the earnings are spent on drink, whereas a woman also educates and nourishes her children.
We try to use recycled material and use sustainable materials as much as possible. We strongly believe in environmental protection and we try to impart the same philosophy to our employees while making the jewelry.