Click to Subscribe & Stay Informed via Email!

Subscribe Here!

Subscribe and stay informed about our latest news and events!
  • Please List your Professional Affiliation
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Tag: Livelihood Creation


Livelihood Creation Profile: Craftizen Foundation


This is part of a series in which we will profile organizations in India who received a Social Innovation grant through the SAI/Tata Trusts project on Livelihood Creation.

thumbnail_CRAFTIZEN ARTISANS IN ODISHA

Craftizen artisans in Odisha

ORGANIZATION DETAILS 

LEADERSHIP

  • Mayura Balasubramanian, Founder and CEO

VISION, MISSION AND BROAD OBJECTIVES 

Vision

To preserve and evolve Indian craft skills so they remain an integral part of our cultural fabric.

Mission

To provide business acumen support to craft groups to enable sustainable livelihoods for Indian artisans.

Broad Objectives

  • Enabling structured, long-term development support to craft groups
  • Building capacity and capability of craft-based organizations to help them scale
  • Reviving patronage of crafts through large scale, sustained interventions
  • Providing market-driven strategies to craft groups
  • Facilitating design development to enhance functionality of craft products

CRAFT IN FOCUS (Design Innovation Lab)

  • Name of the craft: Leather Craft of Andhra Pradesh, traditionally known as Tolu Bommalata (Shadow Puppets).
  • Key distinctive feature: Luminosity of the leather.
  • Different products that can be made in this crafts form: Traditionally, leather puppets, wall panels and paintings depicting mythology scenes. Popular items at present are lampshades of various designs and decorative items for home use such as clocks and wall hangings.
  • Time taken to make a product of the craft: Artisans buy the goat skin and prepare the leather themselves. It is a meticulous process of soaking the raw leather in hot water and lime, followed by vigorous scraping, cleaning and drying to get the required translucent sheets. To prepare the leather takes 2-3 days. Designs are then etched on the leather with pencil. Subsequently, the outlines are marked with black ink. Perforations are made with various chisels on the designs, which further enhances the beauty and luminosity of the leather. Bright colours are used to fill up the designs. To create an elaborate wall panel, it can take up to one month depending on the complexity and detailing. Smaller pieces such as small lampshades or puppets can be made in a day.
thumbnail_SAI TEAM AT CRAFTIZEN BANGALORE

SAI team at Craftizen Bangalore

ACTIVITIES AND MODEL OF EXECUTION 

Craftizen Foundation is a social venture and a not-for-profit, which functions as the business acumen partner for the Indian handicrafts sector. The focus is on enabling sustainable livelihoods for Indian artisans by building capacity of craft groups with market-ready skills and know-how.

Its programs include:

  • The Patron Program: This is a structured Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative that enable craft-based livelihoods for marginalized groups. Corporate funding is channelized to crafts groups and artisans. Craftizen is currently implementing projects in Bengaluru, Kolkata, Delhi and Varanasi impacting 600 beneficiaries including people with disabilities and women rescued from a life of trafficking.
  • Kalashala: A finishing school for artisans and craft groups to equip them to be market-ready. Craftizen’s biggest challenge was developing a curriculum for artisans, most of whom have not even completed primary school. An interactive, game based approach to learning was adopted, through which artisans are taught business skills, production planning, quality and delivery, sales and marketing, story-telling and design thinking, which is customised to their craft and context. Each concept is first learnt by doing an activity, then by experience sharing and finally with the help of guidelines and pointers that are reinforced with visual material to reinforce learning. This initiative is supported with a social innovation grant from Harvard University’s South Asia Institute and Tata Trusts.
  • Design Innovation Lab: Traditionally, handicraft designs evolved through the interaction of artisans and customers. With rapid urbanisation, there is an increasing socio-cultural disconnect between them. Crafts produced today often do not have relevance and functionality for the current-day consumer. Through the Design lnnovation Lab, Craftizen aims to bring together artisans and designers to collaborate on market-driven design development. Further, the focus is on benefiting handicrafts that have not evolved adequately with changing trends and market preferences. To pilot the design lab Craftizen chose the Anantapur leather craft from Andhra Pradesh, traditionally known as Tolu Bommalata (Shadow Puppets). This initiative is supported with a social innovation grant from Harvard University’s South Asia Institute and Tata Trusts.
  • Customized Handcrafted Merchandise: Craftizen provides design and marketing support to crafts persons by focusing on design development that enhances the functional utility of craft products. Products are made for customized orders from corporates and individual buyers. Availability of working capital as well as fair pricing to artisans is ensured.

image

 

INNOVATION AND UNIQUE PROCESSES

Craftizen’s collaborative model is unique. It partners with several not-for-profits and social enterprises that are working in the crafts sector to collectively maximise reach and impact. The organization brings a market-centric approach to the crafts sector through research, trend analysis, strategic planning and inputs. This ensures long-term sustainability. It’s presence across the entire value chain helps in tackling multiple challenges and results in long-term solutions as well.

image2

PARTNERSHIPS

  • Partnership with several NGOs / craft-based organizations to implement CSR funded projects. Some of the CSR funded projects include Women’s Interlink Foundation in Kolkata, Kriti Social Initiatives and Centre for Social Services in Hyderabad, Seva in Action, NIMHANS and Vidyaranya in Bangalore.
  • Various artisan groups for design and marketing. Some of the groups include Varanasi wooden toys, Cherial craft group in Telangana, Tollu bommalu in Andhra Pradesh, Applique work in Orissa and Bastar tribal crafts of wrought iron and dhokra.
  • Large corporate donors like Accenture India and Deloitte India who support and fund livelihood initiatives.
  • Diverse set of corporate, academic and institutional clients like India School of Business (ISB), Titan Company Limited, Quest Alliance amongst many others for custom merchandise.
  • Government institutions who have been donors, patrons and clients. They include National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) amongst many others.
thumbnail_TOLLU BOMALATA ARTISAN FROM ANDHRA PRADESH

Tollu Bomalata artisan from Andhra Pradesh

IMPACT ON BENEFICIARIES 

Till date Craftizen has impacted over 1000 beneficiaries from marginalized groups through CSR funded and craft-based livelihood programs. It has also worked with close to 200 traditional artisans and 42 non-profits and crafts groups to provide ongoing design and marketing support through orders and events. The organization has also developed close to 58 new Crafts designs and raised grants of over INR 14 million.

“We play the role of craft architects, building bridges that connect the crafts sector to newer possibilities.”

  • Mayura Balasubramanian, Founder & CEO

MEDIA COVERAGE

http://www.craftizen.org/in-the-news.html

Share Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Livelihood Creation Profile: Freeset Fabrics


This is part of a series in which we will profile organizations in India who received a Social Innovation grant through the SAI/Tata Trusts project on Livelihood Creation.

ORGANIZATION DETAILS

  • Organisation Name: Freeset Fabrics
  • Year Founded: Private Limited Company
  • Year Founded: 2014
  • Locations: Sherpur, Murshidabad, West Bengal
  • Email: design@freesetfabrics.com
  • Contact Number: +91- 7718705887

    Artisans working on ergonomically designed looms

    Artisans working on ergonomically designed looms

  • Website: http://freesetglobal.com/

LEADERSHIP

  • Kerry Hilton, Director
  • Ron Salmon, General Manager
  • Janet Rogers, Designer and Business Consultant

VISION, MISSION AND BROAD OBJECTIVES

Freeset Fabrics’ goal is livelihood creation in poor rural communities of Murshidabad, West Bengal for vulnerable women who would otherwise be at risk of trafficking into prostitution, bonded labour or migration. Their goal is excellence and quality as they compete with other commercial enterprises.

CRAFT IN FOCUS

  • Name of the craft: Handloom weaving
  • Key distinctive feature: The look and feel of handloom fabric has a unique beauty and quality that sets it apart from fabrics that are created on powerlooms.
  • Different products that can be made in this crafts form: An endless range of products can be created from handloom fabric direct from the loom with minimal finishing: scarves/ stoles, home accessories including table runners, throws and rugs. Other processes, including embroidery and hand printing techniques add value.
  • Time taken to make a product of the craft: Depending on the competency of the weaver and the complexity of design, for a typical scarf of 2m length and 65cm width, an average of 3 and 4 units can be woven in a day.
  • Other crafts activities that are ancillary to this craft form: Freeset Fabrics is focused on the handloom processes and finishing techniques. Other forms of embellishment are likely to be introduced in the future to add value and provide work for more women. These may include embroidery, beadwork, block printing, screen printing, specialist dyeing, including natural and azo-free dyes and other specialist techniques such as Shibori.

ACTIVITIES AND MODEL OF EXECUTION

Freeset Fabrics has a unique focus of reaching out to women who are under the threat of trafficking in Murshidabad district, often considered as the capital of trafficking in the state of West Bengal. In the villages surrounding Sherpur

Janet Rogers at the Harvard SAI workshop

Janet Rogers at the Harvard SAI workshop

where Freeset Fabrics is based, agriculture is the main source of family income. Irregular income and poverty are known drivers for trafficking and migration. Freeset Fabrics provides an opportunity for training and employment to such women from poor agricultural communities in the villages surrounding Sherpur, within a 12 kilometre radius. The enterprise is established on Freeset’s model which provides employment to women who have been trafficked and wish to return to their village, or to those who are vulnerable or at risk of trafficking.

Handloom weaving using natural fibres (currently cotton and wool) and creating scarves and fabric for export is the livelihood creation activity at Freeset. Training in all processes connected with handloom weaving is given over a six to twelve-month period. Once training is complete and a trainee has graduated, she receives a productivity bonus in addition to a basic wage. A direct impact has been noted on women’s wellbeing and confidence as well as a growing sense of community through training and working together. Freeset Fabrics also contributes to Government pension (Provident Fund) and ESI health scheme for its artisans.

For the first two years after Freeset Fabrics was incorporated, its focus was on training women in the skills required for weaving, including preparation of yarn, logistics, management and finishing. Having started with a group of seven women, the company has grown steadily. By the end of the second year, 42 trainees and employees had joined the team, with a waiting list of close to 600 women. In addition to learning handloom skills, training is also given in other areas, including numeracy, literacy, basic health care, life-skills and advocacy.

FUNDING

  • Income from export sales and sales to visitors

    The scarfs for international customers

    The scarfs for international customers

  • Start-up funding from New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to cover training, wages and running costs
  • Harvard SAI and Tata Trusts Social Innovation grant for ergonomic and technical innovation

CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS

The equipment initially procured for weaving came from established manufacturers within West Bengal, but was found to be basic in design and difficult to operate.  The quality of products and efficiency of its use, proved to be a significant constraint on production of export quality products, so work started on improving the design of the equipment.  A contributing factor to this concern was also the ergonomics and the risk of long-term repetitive strain of operating various equipment needed for all the processes on the operatives.

Freeset Fabrics has paid a lot of attention to the design of the looms and the way they are operated. It has engaged ergonomics specialists and consultants to study the effect of existing loom designs on the health of the weavers and efficiency of their work. Minor and major improvements to the existing loom design have made a remarkable difference to the comfort of weavers and efficiency of operations.

From an ergonomic perspective, changes and innovations to other parts of the looms, including a faisel crankshaft mechanism, a faisel handle, improved seating and pedals/shaft operation enhanced the comfort and efficiency of weaving and would lead to less stress on weavers’ bodies.

PARTNERSHIPS

Freeset Fabrics works with various organizations:

  • Freeset Business Incubator Pvt Ltd., to develop further business opportunities.
  • Tamar, a project of Freeset Trust, delivering life skills training, counselling and other social support.
  • Justice Ventures International, to bring justice and freedom from oppression to the poor.

IMPACT ON BENEFICIARIES

200 people have been impacted through livelihood creation – based on an average of 5 in each family Freeset Fabrics works with. Freeset plans to reach out to over 1000 people over the next 5 years. People working with Freeset have directly benefited through this opportunity with improved income, nutrition and health, as well as self-confidence and self-esteem. The fact that in September 2016, around 500 women wanted to be considered for recruitment (250 in February 2016) indicated the desire and need for more such opportunities for social and economic benefits.

The Social Innovation Grant from Harvard SAI and Tata Trusts has enabled Freeset Fabrics to improve and strengthen its equipment and processes, increasing quality and efficiency.  We are thankful that, with these ergonomic and technical innovations, more women now have the potential to weave more freedom for themselves, their families and their communities.

  • Kerry Hilton, Director
Share Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Livelihood Creation Profile: Kumaun Grameen Udyog


This is part a series of organizations in India who received a Social Innovation grant through the SAI/Tata Trusts project on Livelihood Creation.

 

 

ORGANIZATION DETAILS

  • Organisation Name: Kumaun Grameen Udyog (KGU)
  • Registered As: Section 8 company
  • Year Founded: 1996
  • Locations: Nainital District, Uttarakhand
  • Email: info@kgu.org.in, sarika@kgu.org.in
  • Contact Number: +91-7535977771
  • Website: http://www.kilmora.in/

Continue reading →

Share Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

SAI concludes Tata Trusts Livelihood Creation project with conference in Delhi


Professor Khanna

Professor Khanna

The Harvard South Asia Institute (SAI), in collaboration with Tata Trusts, concluded the 18-months project on ‘Livelihood Creation In India’ at an event hosted in New Delhi on Jan. 23. Nearly 200 people attended the event at the Taj Mahal Hotel, representing institutions including the World Bank, UNDP, Government of India, IIT Delhi, and many other top academic, corporate and civil society institutions.

The program showcased the work of the ‘Livelihood Creation in India’ project, with a focus on two key areas: Rural Livelihood Creation in the handicrafts and handloom sectors; and Science and Technology-based Social Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Shashank Shah, Visiting Scholar, Harvard Business School and Project Director at SAI, provided an overview to the 18 month project. “This project has involved rigorous research work with over 100 social enterprises across 15 states of India to study the challenges and capacity gaps,” he said. “The Harvard SAI Team and faculty then conducted 5 capacity building workshops with 125 participating enterprises, and 10 webinars involving Harvard faculty and subject experts from India.”

Continue reading →

Share Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Q+A: Shashank Shah, Livelihood Creation Project Director


Shashank Shah, left, at a field visit in Lucknow

Shashank Shah, left, at a field visit in Lucknow

For the past 18 months, Shashank Shah has been the Project Director for the SAI-Tata Trusts project on Livelihood Creation, which has just concluded. SAI spoke to Shah about the project and lessons learned.

SAI: Why did this project focus on the theme of livelihood creation? And how were the three tracks chosen?

Shashank Shah: Livelihood is a very big issue in India, given that India has largest population of people below the age of 35, and hence, skill-building and livelihood creation are primary issues and priorities for the government of India. They have reached out to corporations to help in this effort because they have the capacity to contribute, and they are the levers that fuel the economy of the country.

Given the expertise of social entrepreneurship by Professor Tarun Khanna [Director of the Harvard South Asia Institute], they thought it would be the best focus area for this project.

The two focuses of livelihood creation are skill building and social entrepreneurship. Skill building will give jobs to people who need them, and social entrepreneurship will lead to opportunities for self-employment, and also lead to positive social outcomes.

We identified three tracks: First, Rural livelihood creation in the Indian craft sector. This industry is the second-most employing sector in rural India, after agriculture. Rough estimates indicate that around 200 million people depend on the handicraft sector directly or indirectly. So we thought our project could try and create some kind of intervention and would benefit a large number of organizations. We had expertise in Professor Mukti Khaire.

Continue reading →

Share Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

SAI and Tata Trusts host workshop on women’s rights


Professor Chen

Professor Chen

The Harvard South Asia Institute (SAI), in collaboration with Tata Trusts, hosted an event titled ‘Women’s Economic and Social Rights in India: Exploring New Collaborations and Engagements’ on December 22 in New Delhi. The event showcased the outcome of an eighteen-month project on ‘Livelihood Creation in India’. Padma Bhushan Dr. Ela Bhatt, Founder, SEWA was the Chief Guest for the evening and delivered the keynote address. Martha Chen, Harvard Kennedy School and Jacqueline Bhabha, FXB Director of Research and Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health, shared the project findings and outcomes. The event featured the work of organizations that have been supported through grants and mentoring over past, and over 150 people attended.

Continue reading →

Share Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Livelihood Creation Profile: Raah Foundation


This is part a series in which we will profile organizations in India who received a Social Innovation grant through the SAI/Tata Trusts project on Livelihood Creation.

ORGANIZATION DETAILS

LEADERSHIP

  • Sarika Kulkarni, Founder Trustee

Continue reading →

Share Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Livelihood Creation Profile: Women Weave


This is part a series in which we will profile organizations in India who received a Social Innovation grant through the SAI/Tata Trusts project on Livelihood Creation.

 

 

ORGANIZATION DETAILS

Continue reading →

Share Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Livelihood Creation Profile: Prantae Solutions


This is part a series in which we will profile organizations in India who received a Social Innovation grant through the SAI/Tata Trusts project on Livelihood Creation.

 

The video above is a brief onsite interview in Bhubaneswar between Dr. Shashank Shah, Project Director, Harvard SAI, and Sumona and Aseem on the impact of the Livelihood Creation Project, workshop, grant and mentorship on Prantae and its mission of affordable diagnostics and healthcare for India.

 

ORGANIZATION DETAILS

Continue reading →

Share Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn