Sewing to a Better Future for Women in India

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LENEXA, Kan. -- In India, there are millions of people trapped in a cycle of poverty. They are known as "untouchables," with no education, work or hope for a better future.

But there's a metro woman who is changing to work that -- one woman at a time.

"People born into the untouchable class are still deemed largely that They are looked at as outcasts in society. They are looked at as sub human in some cultures," Darlene Terry said.

It was Terry's first time she met some of these women that changed her.

"The passion is non self-imposed, it's just something I know I'm called to do."

So, Terry came home to Kansas City and eventually founded the organization "Helping Hands Harboring Hope."

LEARN MORE: Helping Hands Harboring Hope website

One of her projects is a new sewing center in the norther India town of Dareahdoon. In it, untouchable, mostly illiterate women are taught to sew and then provided with their own machine.

"It's amazing what that small investment did for them in terms of giving them hope for the future -- and giving them an opportunity to have some self value," she said.

Some of the women have turned it into a business, selling their wares in the market, with some of the proceeds reinvested in sewing centers.

But it wasn't just the women of India that needed help -- so Terry raised money to build tutoring centers for their children and hired impoverished college-aged kids to teach so they could pay for school.

"We are hoping this multi-generational" focus will allow families to have meaningful life change more quickly -- and it will mean more meaningful life change for the whole community more quickly."

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