Far from being unskilled, SEWA found the women to be highly skilled in traditional crafts. They constantly sewed, embroidered, and created works of textile art as dowries for their daughters. During tough times, they were forced to sell their precious embroideries to traders for a pittance, just to survive. If the women could come together, they could generate employment for themselves. By forming a producers’ collective, they could pool their resources, use their traditional skills to make products, and SEWA would help the collectives find markets for their products.
The women belong to several communities; chief among them are Ahir, Rabari, Kanbi, Mochi, Harijan, and Chaudhary Patel. Each community has its own craft tradition. For example Mochi women do leather work; Harijan women weave, and do applique. Both Ahir and Rabari women embroider, but their stitches and their mirrorwork is different.