Sari Bari

Kolkata, India

As a champion of women’s rights in a part of the world where it is greatly needed, Sarah Lance embodies the Opus Prize values of entrepreneurship and sustainability.

Lance was awarded the Prize for her work with Sari Bari, which she founded to offer freedom to the women of Kolkata, India who are trapped in the sex trade or vulnerable to being trafficked, exemplifying the Foundation’s commitment to social enterprise, transformation and leadership.

Sari Bari employs 120 women in four locations. They are trained in sophisticated sewing techniques used to recycle old saris into blankets, purses, bags and scarves that are sold online, primarily to customers in the United States. The women are paid a living wage and given healthcare benefits, a pension, tuition assistance for their children and opportunities for advancement. 

Lance’s creativity and business sense have helped Sari Bari produce quality products from day one, allowing the business to thrive. With a belief in the inner strength of each woman, Lance’s faith and spirit encourages the women of Sari Bari to be passionate in promoting the freedom of other women.

Every woman at Sari Bari has chosen freedom, and through Sari Bari’s counseling and support programs, as well as the safe, loving, loyal environment of the workplace, they are rebuilding their lives and supporting their families.