Social entrepreneurs investing in the forgotten artisans of India
India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world today. Our commercial ventures are doing great, the entertainment industry is making money domestically and abroad and our lives our getting a little better every day. But is that also true for those living in the rural regions of the country? Sadly, no.
As the country fights with social evils like violence against women and works on empowering the less privileged; there are some dynamic women who are continuously working towards helping some of these people with limited access, to get better education and commercial training.
Despite India’s rich culture, the artisans and craftsmen rarely benefit from trade. This is where our social entrepreneurs come in to enable these artisans with better resources and training. Here are 5 such women who have been working towards helping some of India’s most talented people to make a better living for themselves and their family
One of the most well-known social entrepreneurs working with artisans in India, Laila Tyabji is the founder of Dastkar, a Delhi-based NGO, working for the revival of traditional crafts in the country. Through her work, she has successfully developed a market for Indian crafts and managed to work around the middle-men, thus helping craftsmen to get better compensation for their work. Her organization currently employs over 36,000 artisans in the country.
Along with ethnic clothes and jewelry, the traditional furniture made from Bamboo stick has also lost most of its buyers in last few decades. This has gravely affected those involved in the traditional skill-based art. Helping such craftsmen, Aruna Kappagantula established Bamboo House India providing sustainable livelihood opportunities to the bamboo work- dependent communities dependent for livelihoods.
Gita Ram and Neelam Chibber
While Gita Ran has been on the Executive Committee of Crafts Council of India, Neelam Chibber has ample experience providing design, technical and marketing solutions in natural fibre products of India. Together, they run the Industree Crafts Foundation, that helps artisans with domestic retail and exports, enabling them to become owners of their enterprises. This further helps upcoming generations of these families to pursue the slowly declining art forms.
The tribal communities in India are disadvantaged at many levels, including discrimination. But women like Jabeen Jambughodawala are especially focusing on this section of the society, helping the tribal woman stand on their own feet. Her work is mainly focused on reviving the traditional and ruins crafts of tribal people and helping them produce and market products in national and International markets.
[Featured Picture Courtesy: The Alternative]