Skill Development Programme For Rural Women Artisans

IMSE has always been on the lookout to encourage rural talent and while doing so we have come across several rural women in the villages of Birbhum, Bardhaman, Murshidabad and Bankura making some beautiful handicrafts, artwork with stitches and patches on cloth (Kantha stitch predominating). Their traditional designs are something worth preserving as it is a blend of tradition of Bengal and artwork. The women are hardworking and possess a lot of potential, yet they fail to get a fair compensation for their time, skill and effort. They are being exploited mercilessly by the moneylenders who take undue advantage of their helplessness. This is where IMSE attempts to rescue them from the traps of the moneylenders and play the role of a facilitator providing a proper market linkage to their creations alongside working towards refining their skills and encouraging them to take pride in their work. This would open up new avenues for gainful self-employment for the women.

Like every good thing comes at a cost - IMSE is devoid of any funds for the project as it was started with an intention to provide a market linkage to the artisans. But in due course we understood the need of the hour is giving the designs a contemporary touch so that people could use the creations on a daily basis as well as for special occasions.

And thus in order to materialize the needs we need to organize a series of rigorous workshops inviting artists and fashion designers to train the women with the designs and colour combinations that would invite more people to patronize them.

We have already conducted a number of workshops with renowned artists whose creations have reached overseas too. The workshops were a huge success and it was really encouraging to see how fast they could adopt what the artist taught. We are now confident that with a series of such workshops these artisans are going to create magic.

Their Kantha Stitch, Zari, TaantSarees, Handloom Sarees, Dokra handicraft etc, are highly commendable and we plan to introduce them to expand their area of work by experimenting on new combinations as well.