Along the Puri-Bhubaneswar highway in Orissa, in a small village, seven women craftsmen tirelessly worked with five young people from an urban space, to learn, teach and grow for one month.
Nearly a decade ago, the craft of coir was introduced in villages of Orissa to generate employment for women. Over the last three years, the craft has witnessed a continuous drop in sales, leading to women abandoning the craft itself. Moreover, there has been no innovation in process or design.
Through the format of a Fellowship, our team trained seven women in new design production, using computers/technology, managing accounts and established marketing tie-ups for them across Delhi. These women would be instrumental in teaching the 100 other women in the village.
18 new designs were developed including small items like Bookmarks, and home decor items such as Lamps.
It all began with demonstrations - where everyone became familiar with the craft of coir-toy making. Over the next few days, each fellow worked with each artist, and developed new designs which were subsequently implemented.
Fellows worked with artists to also source additional raw material - colorful thread, beads, wires, and more. These were introduced to bring a decorative element to the otherwise plain craft of coir.
After finishing production and creating a line of products, fellows helped the artists learn photography - and taught them basic accountancy. They were also exposed to the world of social media - especially Facebook. The group, Odiani, now has a Facebook page, and will be selling online very soon.
The collaborations were exhibited at an arts gallery in New Delhi - and garnered much support and curiousity from the public. Most of the designs got sold instantly and helped raise funds for Odiani.
With your support, we are confident we can achieve much more, and aid many artists to reach the stage of self-sustenance. With every project, we learn new things, and hope that our artists are having as much fun in learning. Do keep supporting us - we value your suggestions and feedback too! Do share the same with your friends, and reach out to us!
More of our work can be viewed on our website : http://www.happyhands.in
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