Rural Artisan Training Programmes
ACM GIDF's various rural artisan training programmes, aim to create a need for Indian traditional art & craft products in the modern market.The initiative not just helps artisans, but also helps revive different unique crafts of India that are on the verge of extinction.
The idea of Theme Based Cluster originated from ACM GIDF’s involvement in the Ambedkar Hastshilp Vikas Yojna (AHVY), in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Textiles.
Through the project, GIDF identified and helped around 500 Punja Durry (hand crafted carpet) weavers of Panipat, Haryana, with skill enhancing workshops that armed them with improved artwork and innovative designs.
Our experience in AVHY inspired us to extend the learning to other artisan clusters across the nation. The methodology involved setting up a theme, in this case, that of ‘gift items’; identification of potential artisan clusters that could contribute to this theme; organize them into self-help-groups; enhance their skills, infuse modern aesthetic sensibilities onto their products; develop their product quality and range to better address the demands of modern times.
The target is to make the artisans participate at all stages of the scheme with the ultimate objective of their empowerment and eventual sustainability. The project, already one year in the making, would be implemented for 5 years in seven different crafts in seven different states, namely:
Jammu & Kashmir – Paper Machie
Paper Machie holds the pride of place as a heritage tradition of Kashmir, but the practitioners of this craft face a host of problems mainly due to the unorganized nature of the sector. To improve the socio-economic conditions of artisans, mainly women, ACM GIDF has formed self-help-groups and started training them in income generation activities. The project has consolidated plans to tap optimum resources from the Handicrafts department, NABARD, Women Development Corporation, besides the service of experts on IGP/ Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP). In a years time, GIDF has managed to rope in over 800 artisans and settled them into 73 SHGs, with over 450 women members. Majority of these women have already received artisan identity cards issued by the Ministry of Textiles.
Uttar Pradesh – MARBLE STONE CARVINGS
ACM GIDF is targeting locations in Agra district to organize the scattered individual artisans in groups, for sustainability of their craft and their eventual empowerment. Around 1000 artisans were selected for the project after a detailed baseline survey and community mobilizers appointed from within the community. A number of self-help groups with bank linkages have already been made operational in the area and government approved artisan identity cards have been distributed.
Rajasthan – HAND MADE STOLES
After a detailed diagnostic survey, team GIDF is in the process of identifying and mainstreaming around 200-300 women involved in hand-crafted stole making in and around Jodhpur in Rajasthan. These women, some from the minority community, and all from impoverished families, are traditionally trained in exquisite Bandej embroidery work. Adopting participatory tools like social mapping of the target areas to identify the stakeholders, we have already deep into the process of forming self-help groups.
Kerala – CHRISTMAS GIFTS & DECORATION ITEMS
At Kozhikode in Kerela, ACM GIDF conducted a detailed diagnostic survey of artisan clusters to identify specific interventions to make them self-sustainable. The activities following the survey include mobilizing the artisans into SHGs, understanding the principles of thrift and credit, training of SHGs on various aspects of forming and running the community business enterprise. Kozhikode now has a well equipped project office with experienced staff and we have also conducted skill test camps and issues certificates of recognition to artisans. SHGs with these artisans have started working with effective bank linkages in place.
West Bengal – TERACOTTA
Bankura in West Bengal is well known for its terracotta craft – but there are hundreds of practitioners who are virtually jobless because their work has lost relevance in the modern marketplace. Team GIDF identified a resource person to undertake a detail survey in the different villages of the area, with help from enterprising and interested local youth. We explored new villages where Terracotta craft is being practiced but no major interventions had been found till date. A project office was identified and set up in Bishnupur and orientation was provided to the newly appointed team in this project office. In year 2010-11, we also established crucial linkages with Pravah and NABARD to take the project forward.
Andhra Pradesh – WOODEN TOYS
Wooden toy making is a highly skilled craft typical to Andhra Pradesh. Team GIDF has identified artisans spread in four major clusters and seven minor clusters. Their work ranges from making of turned woods and lacquer ware toys; completely hand made gift veena toys; dolls, animals and entire village settings etc. The major issue of the artisans here is the incredible hike in cost of raw materials while the market price of their finished products remains static. After a baseline survey by ACM GIDF, discussions with major stakeholders have started in right earnest and the progress of the project is being appraised periodically to local DCH offices.
Tamil Nadu – PALM LEAF CRAFTS
Over 900 palm leaf artisans have already started benefiting through the efforts of team GIDF at Kanyakumari district, South Tamil Nadu. After a baseline survey with 1530 artisans and over 30 Focus Group Discussions, team GIDF felt their major issues were supply of good quality raw material and low awareness in modern production technology – also, the range and scope of their products needed a re-think. To give the artisans a space to grow and innovate, ACM GIDF organized 927 artisans under 58 SHGs in the area. We also conducted a skill assessment workshop with the AD Handicraft of the region who has promised all support to the artisans.