When crises strike women and artisans are harder hit by economic impacts. Around the world, both categories generally earn less and save less and disproportionately hold more insecure jobs in the informal economy or service sector with less access to social protections. For many families, school and market closures with social distancing measures have increased the unpaid care and domestic financial crisis, making them less able to take on or balance home economy. A larger share of people are employed in the informal economy which is severely affected, this includes artisans at large. Most of the families we work with or are looking to work with have their dependents working in such fragile informal sector which is highly affected. Many of them have either lost job or have exhausted with the existing balances. Artisans have lost the customers due to lesser demand and poor market conditions. This has negatively impacted the women and artisans at large making then most vulnerable. Such panic situation may create setting negative trend wherein artisans switching their work which may lead to extinction of rich art forms. Hence, this calls for the need to strengthen women and artisans by a collaborative initiative with shared benefits.
By broadening the range of income-generating opportunities for such vulnerable women artisans to achieve the sustainable livelihood and dignified enablement we have come up with an unique solution wherein we will be training women from tribal areas across Maharashtra, Gujarat, West-Bengal and Bihar to produce masks by incorporating respective traditional art forms Warli, Tie-&-Die, Kantha and Madhubani upon them. We will be achieving this by providing a more balanced support including market linkage opportunity and by fully exploiting the opportunities offered by emerging digital communication technologies to unify the digital component with the ease of business. Promoting women artists by assuring adequate training and access to resources we will try to handhold and make them self-reliant. The digital marketing and sale of mask as products will be facilitated by our digital application VChimni (www.vchimni.com). Our digital training methodology with handholding support will help women to produce well quality product. This will in turn give them opportunity to evolve in their mask production and its related marketing aspects which will help them to start their own venture individually or in groups. Thus making them self-reliant while reviving the art form in its uniqueness.
The express intent of the initiative is to cultivate a pool of women artisans which will not only stand on their own but will also support, uplift and transform many others within their immediate community directly or indirectly. This will be a 15 days course wherein women will be taught regarding basics of tailoring, types of cloth, basics of art respective form/s, and production of fashion accessories using traditional art forms. Currently since the country is in need of a large number of masks to deal with Covid-19 situation, women artisans would be encouraged to design and produce quality masks which can fetch them premium rates. The program will directly benefit 200 low income families by providing a means of sustainable livelihoods to the women artisans from tribal areas. We would also be addressing the women entrepreneurial abilities, dignified livelihood, women equity in family and society. The value boost to the economic empowerment and respite to the families of the women is incalculable. This will have a larger impact wherein two components of the society are blended to attain the sustainable livelihood generation. Our goals are aligned with NDC’s and 2030 Sustainable