Many women getting married dream of the perfect outfit for their special day. But Nasar Thootha, a taxi driver, often noticed that limited funds inhibited a large section from finding their dream wedding dress.
He also realised the other side of the story — many girls from privileged families would use the wedding outfit once, after which it would spend eternity locked away in their cupboards.
Tying the two together, Nasar came up with a solution — he would have women from well-off families donate the outfit after their big day to create a sort of ‘dress bank’.
Other women from low-income groups could then visit the bank and browse through the outfits, choosing the one they liked best.
Thus, in April 2020, he first started the ‘Dress Bank’ as an experiment.
To spread the word and urge people to donate, Nasar would send messages on Facebook and WhatsApp. Soon, news spread and many donors, as well as takers, showed interest in the venture.
Speaking to Awaz, Nasar said, “Under the project, about 200 brides from economically weak families were able to dress up for their weddings in bridal dresses that would normally have been out of their reach. There are no charges for the clothes that we give away.”
“We now have a collection of around 1,000 traditional bridal outfits for Muslim, Christian, and Hindu brides. The market prices range between Rs 5,000 and Rs 50,000 and are beyond the reach of many people. We now have donors coming from other states. We have also had NRIs donating their wedding dresses.”
Those who can manage to visit the dress bank do so, while for others Nasar, has a network of volunteers who send the pieces to the receiver.
What is heartwarming about this is that Nasar never asks the brides to return the outfits, but instead encourages them to send these to someone else in need, thus continuing the cycle of good.