The Artisans

ethically made Indian products

 

Saathay works with local non-profit organisations, with artisans and weavers ensuring that the people who produce these amazing pieces of art get a fair wage and an environment conducive for them to create their exquisite pieces of art.

 

Kala Raksha

Fair Trade Indian Produce

 

Kala Raksha is a non profit organisation. It began it’s work in Kutch, Gujarat with 20 suf embroiderers who had migrated from Sindh. In a decade, they grew to over 500 women from seven different communities, all traditional artisans from relatively marginalised populations.

In each community Kala Raksha first forms a group, based on mutual responsibility. Artisans come to the centre for workshops and meetings. Trained, salaried staff from the artisans respective communities, connect them to the Trust through income generation activities.

Earning is empowerment- more so because artisans price their own work and operate savings groups.

Members have used income and instant loans for building homes, celebrating weddings and purchasing sewing machines.

Kala Raksha’s Mission statement

The objectives of the Trust shall be to:

  • Preserve and present traditional arts
  • Encourage innovation within tradition
  • Assist achievement of self sufficiency
  • Provide basic education
  • Enable sale of contemporary arts

In it’s second decade, Kala Raksha has begun to address India’s most pressing need: education.

Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya, an institution of design for traditional artisans, provides an environment and methodology appropriate to traditional artisans. The aim is to raise the value of hand work which ultimately will insure preservation of traditional arts.

‘We have learned how to use colour and pattern, how to create for new clientele’ Lachhuben

Through Kala Raksha, women have gone from, ‘We are only artisans’ to ‘We are Artisans’.

Information taken from Kala Raksha literature

 

 

Shrujan

Hand Crafted Indian Stoles

 

Shrujan is a not for profit trust. Income that is generated is returned to the project.

The organisational structure ensures personal and economic support to the women. Shrujan provides all the materials and pays the women immediately on completion of each piece of embroidery. As much as possible, responsibility for production is delegated to village women called entrepreneurs who have been trained in organisational and business skills. If the work load warrants it, an Entrepreneur may delegate to a Sub-entrepreneur. This structure ensures that at the village level, management is always evolving, with training and responsibility being passed on to younger women.

Since 1969, Shrujan has trained over 18,000 women in either embroidery, small business management, or both. During training, both the teachers and students are paid a stipend. Providing women in Kutch with a regular income has had far reaching benefits. Economic empowerment has transformed them into confident and competent business women. They can invest in land, afford good health care and provide better nutrition for their families. National recognition for their work affords them enormous respect within their communities.

Kutch is a place of extreme hardship, prone to natural disasters. With a holistic approach to community development, Shrujan has,

  • Built houses for nomadic communities.
  • Organised cattle and health camps.
  • Carried out relief work during droughts, floods, a cyclone and an earthquake.

On 26th January 2001, a massive earthquake hit Kutch. Since then, Shrujan has been developing cyclone, earthquake and fire resistant work stations for individual villages. In times of disaster, these structures will be used as shelters for the whole community.

The Shrujan Philosphy
Shrujan has been built on clear and effective philosophical principles. These are:

  • Self-sufficiency, confidence and dignity are the rights of women all over the world.
  • Maximising local, available resources, situations and skills is the best way of assisting rural communities.
  • All forms of useful work are equal.
  • The unnatural divides of caste and communities can and must be overcome.
  • Exquisite hand embroidery should be respected as a high art form.

 

 

KMVS

Hand made hand bags, Indian embroidery, Indian cushions, Indian wall hangings

 

Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan is a collective of rural women from 130 villages of Kutch, striving for their socioeconomic and political empowerment. Of around 4,000 KMVS members, 1,200 are traditional craftswomen, who have come together to form self sustaining producer groups.

Thanks to their sustained efforts over the last decade, these women have helped each other, their families and heir communities extricate themselves from a vicious downward spiral of commercial exploitation by middlemen and traders, being forced to become daily or piece wage labourers, some even abandoning their traditional occupations.

They have chosen the word Qasab (meaning ‘craft skill’ in Kutchi) as their brand name for their products. These women entrepreneurs are now channelling their collective strengths and assets toward:

  • Contemporising their design skills through workshops with designers and institutions.
  • Procuring better quality raw materials at lower rates thanks to collective bargaining.
  • Marketing their products themselves by meeting and interacting with buyers first hand.
  • Reclaiming their roles of artisans and producers, reversing the trend of commercial exploitation.

‘The work you buy is a symbol of our pride’ Artisans of KMVS

 

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