Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt
How this year’s Baptist Assembly production crew helped give freedom to women in Kolkata
“Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt,” is a familiar saying. It trips off the tongue, almost without thinking.
But for the first time, to aid team identification, the production crew at this year’s Baptist Assembly in Plymouth were kitted out in black t-shirts, and not just any old t-shirts.
The t-shirts came from Freeset, already known to Assembly delegates as suppliers of the jute satchels used to carry all their papers and belongings. Freeset’s strapline is “in business for freedom”. Established in 2001, it provided employment for women who had been trafficked into prostitution in Kolkata, India. Today Freeset employs over 100 women who manufacture quality bags for export.
Selling t-shirts was a later development. In fact, the production team’s t-shirts were some of the first to be manufactured by Freeset. They are made from fair trade cotton, and Freeset states that, “from grower to sewer all workers are paid fair wages and have healthy working conditions.” All the t-shirts are sewn by women in Kolkata, who were once on the fringes of society and trapped by poverty and prostitution. Freeset has given these women an opportunity to learn new skills, earn a respectable and shame-free living and find a way to freedom.
Lynne Weir, BMS Publications Co-ordinator, said, “When I ordered the t-shirts, I realised they were slightly more expensive than the ones we could have got from another supplier. However, when they arrived, the Freeset t-shirts were of better quality, and so it seemed to me, they were very good value. I’m really pleased with our purchase.”
And the production crew were very pleased too.
Photo credits: Top photo © BUGB, Bottom photo © Karl Ashman, Peak Hire Ltd