The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2016 Handbook Vol. V: Women’s Empowerment

While most eyes were fixated at the commercial side of the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2016, there were some selfless groups who made their presence felt through their altruistic deeds. The empowerment of women in our country, especially is the need of the hour — and we’ve featured some of the best organisations at the event that hammered the nail right on the head.

As spectacular as it is every year, the 2016 edition of Kala Ghoda, too, was a delightful concoction of marvellous artistry and grandeur. While most eyes were fixated at the commercial side of the event, there were some selfless groups who made their presence felt through their altruistic deeds. The empowerment of women in our country, especially is the need of the hour — and we’ve featured some of the best organisations at the event that hammered the nail right on the head.

Kala Raksha

The name itself literally translates to ‘preservation of art’ which is exactly what the organisation aims to do. Kala Raksha was created in 1993 with the hope of saving local art and the creativity of the artisans. Initially, they had 20 artisans on board who worked long hours. The results were fruitful, as it helped them expand further. Over two decades old today, there are a 17 villages and 800 artisans under the organisation. Kala Raksha not only helps women in neighbouring villages earn money from home, but also helps preserve the locality’s art. As Ramesh Panani explains in the video below, it’s two menacing birds with one spectacular stone.

Shanti Hastakala

Based in Gujarat, the organisation works with housewives who are confined to the four walls of their home due to lack of education, family responsibilities, or any other reasons beyond their control. The organisation trains them, hones their skills, and helps them earn a living right from home. Over 12 years old now, Neeta Nayak explains the significance of the organisation:

Gramin Vikas Evam Chetna Sansthan

Empowering a couple of women is one matter — empowering a whooping 11,000 women artisans is a different ballgame altogether. The women in question stay in midst of the deserts of Rajasthan, and therefore, have limited means of income. The organisation encourages them to produce embroidery products based on the traditional methods of the 5000-year-old Indus Valley civilisation — albeit, with an innovative twist. Watch Vikram Singh Choudhary, the secretary, elucidate in the video below.

Aharam Weavers

Aharam Weavers operates from a tiny village in Tamil Nadu since 1987. Although it started under a different name (which was changed in 2009), the idea and purpose remain the same: to use organic cotton material to make high-quality products like kitchen cloths, babywear, and towels that are sold both locally and exported worldwide. The organisation helps and trains women in need (especially those who need to support a family) who then work from home for them. This not only offers them more income, but also gives them social respect and a chance to become independent. You can watch the video below to learn more about the same.

Samoolam Crafts

A self-reliant, self-sustained organisation, the aim of Samoolam Crafts is solely to empower women and ameliorate the women’s livelihood. Although they have over 110 women working tirelessly with them, the organisation does not take donations. Instead, it believes in paying the women using the profits generated from their products, which are often made from fine-quality crochet. Usha Prajapati elaborates in the video below:

Okhai Handicrafts

Based out of the Okhamandal area near Dwarka district in Gujarat, Okhai Handicrafts has a rather heartfelt story. Due to lack of rains, scarcity of water and food isn’t really uncommon in the region — and the organisation offers the women from various strata of the region to make the most of their talents and earn money by using the Okhai method to make handcrafted products. It’s also a ready platform for the women to express themselves through their art and talents while having the security of making a living while staying at home. The organisation has over 450 women on board who are trained at NIFT Ahmedabad. As Ramiben Nangesh explains below, they do everything from stitching to designing as “talent runs in their blood”.

Previous Editions:

You can view the complete Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2016 Handbook here.

Rameez Shaikh

Rameez Shaikh is a twenty-three year old writer. With a degree in journalism to his name, he's an aspiring author with an absolutely astounding admiration for alliteration. Leisure propels him to read, dance, pen fiction and gloat about himself in third person. On weekdays, he works as a features writer. On weekends, he's a Manchester United fan.

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