About Conscious by Kali
When Kali Basi met international humanitarian, photographer and speaker Lisa Kristine in 2016, the encounter was life-changing. Viewing Lisa’s haunting images of modern-day slavery, Kali was inspired to pursue a long-held dream. After years as a succesful and award-winning clothing designer in both New Zealand and the U.S., she would apply her skills and knowledge toward helping human trafficking survivors.
Later that same year she established a craft center within a shelter in Kathmandu, Nepal and began training young women in the art of fine textiles, along the way founding Conscious by Kali. In 2018 she created a new training center in the Sangam Vihar constituency of Delhi, India.
The Challenge: Life After Rescue
In many countries where trafficking is prevalent, being rescued is no guarantee of a better life. Despite the fact that many young girls and women are sold into slavery by their own families, once they’ve escaped captivity those same families refuse to take them back and they are shunned by the larger society.
To further complicate matters, when police in India conducted a sting operation of over 3,000 shelter homes partially funded by the government last year - shelters ostensibly created to help survivors - only 17 were found to be in compliance with federal standards. But even without such corruption, the near impossibility of finding employment or earning a stable income puts ‘rescued’ girls and women at high risk of being re-trafficked.
The Conscious by Kali Approach
Understanding the need to develop real skills that enable survivors to earn a living wage, we train each woman or girl in how to sew entire garments from beginning to end. At the Conscious by Kali Center in Delhi, our Executive Director oversees operations and a Master Tailor trains participants in screen printing, painting on silk, patchwork, embroidery, felting, jewelry making and sewing. The girls and women work in teams to bring each new piece to life, finding healing in their conversations with each other and daily talk sessions with our staff.
Our long term goal is to develop leaders from within the group who become advocates and activists in combating and preventing human trafficking where they live, training other girls and women in the skills they’ve learned at the center.
Born in New Zealand of Indian parents, Kali grew up with a love and appreciation for excellent craftsmanship. Since her early twenties she’s been creating elegant attire that unites eastern culture with contemporary western expression. Through Kali Basi Design she offers unique handmade clothing created from natural fibers and recycled fabrics. Her designs have been recognized through numerous awards, including Outstanding Achievement at the Millennium Art Festival, the Glencoe Festival of Art, and the Barrington Art Festival. Kali divides her time between her home studio in rural Yelm, Washington and frequent trips abroad to provide support and guidance at the Conscious by Kali Center.