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Program: Kutch Kala

At Sewa International, we realise and firmly stand by the fact that Skills and knowledge are the driving forces of economic growth and social development of any country. The economy becomes more productive, innovative and competitive through the development of a flourishing and self-sufficient skilled human capital.The increased pace of globalization and technological changes provide both challenges and growth opportunities for economic expansion and job creation. To take advantage of these opportunities as well as to minimise the social costs and dislocation, which the transition to a more open economy entails, the level and quality of skills that a nation possesses are becoming critical factors. There is always a difference between „knowing‟ and “performing‟, and the gap is explained by inadequacy of skill.

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Kutch district is a district of Gujarat state in western India. Covering an area of 45,674 km², it is the largest district of India. The literal meaning of the word ‘kutch’ is something that becomes intermittently dry & wet; a large part of the district, the Rann of Kutch, is a shallow wetland that submerges in water during monsoons & remains dry during other seasons.

Not only isolated by distance, the district is also drought-prone & being a border district, Kutch has both an army and an air force base.

Gujarati Ahirs comprise a comparatively large group in Kutch and all of these various ethnic communities maintain & produce traditional dress and crafts of many types, including weaving, dyeing, printing, bandhani (tie and dye), embroidery, leather work, pottery, woodwork, and metalwork.

The Sewa ‘KUTCH’ Initiative

Background:

The Earthquake which hit Gujarat in 2001 killed more than 20,000 people and injured about 1,70,000 people. Around 250 villages and 4,00,000 homes were destroyed. About 40 lakh people were affected in total. As the epicenter was located in Kutch, the entire region was the worst affected. Sewa International was involved in the reconstruction of 1800 houses, 14 villages, and more than 250 schools.

Sewa International Endeavors

Skill Development of Women Artisans through Training, Marketing and Support Services To build the capacity of unskilled artisans to upgrade their skills. To add additional skilled artisans through master craftsperson, who possess good skills for better value additions, quality of output, finishing and innovative techniques use of improved tools and technology. Promotion and display of finished goods at government exhibitions. Entrepreneurship Development program at village level. To enable improved production as well as productivity to adapt the changing trends in the market by introducing new design and techniques.

Sewa International started the Gujarat Rehabilitation Project i.e. “Empowering women Self Help Group” (SHG) to organize and manage sustainable entrepreneurship programme” in the Kutch district of Gujarat which was supported by India Development and Relief Fund (USA). The artisans were provided interim relief through the provision of toolkits to upgrade their work. However, many long-term problems lingered. These problems included loss of livelihoods, loss of infrastructure, and poor access to working capital and markets. A long-term solution for the artisan groups was the need of the hour.

Sewa international got engaged in the creation of sustainable livelihood for women. It identified and motivated poor women in rural areas, provided capacity building workshop, training cum exhibition, and provided financial assistance to these women by linking them to the banks and facilitating them to avail timely loans efficiently.

This helped Sewa International as an organization to evolve and prove a financially sustainable MED model for the poor. During the initial stage of the rehabilitation program, Kuran village of Khavda was identified and 18 women were selected to cater trainings which will enhance their skills in embroidery. A Self Help Group named Momai Maa Mahila Mandal was constituted as per the interest and will of these women. Later on, 20 women were identified and another S.H.G named Umiya Mahila Mandal was formed in Jiyapar village of Nakhatrana.

Women artisans from both Embroidery and Bandhni sector were identified based on their interest, prior skill set, future goal and resource base at the village level. Mapping was based on potential, level, type, production, capacity, quality marketing capacity, etc of artisans and weavers. This helped identify the potential artisans and build their capacity in a participatory manner and to produce quality products through high end quality training. This also helped have complete ownership of products and its processes by the women artisans.

Some famous artwork & handicrafts of the region are:

  • Textile
  • Copper Bell
  • Pottery Work
  • Mud work

Edging On To Newer Paths

In yet another feather to our cap, we have launched ourselves on the global online selling platform Amazon, which has enabled us to widen our reach in both Indian as well as Global markets.

We have also developed another form of block printing technique called Ajarakh, to diversify our products .

SKSPL has transformed the grassroots craft activity into a full fledge commercial enterprise. SKSPL is headed by Sri HariBhai, Sri Ramesh Bhai, Sri Naran Bhai, Sri Jadav Bhai the women associated with the project.

Objective of SEWA efforts in the region of Kutch

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