Empower Kantha Artisans of Bengal Break Free of Poverty & | Milaap
Empower Kantha Artisans of Bengal Break Free of Poverty & Exploitation
  • Dipa

    Created by

    Dipa Guhathakurta


One Meal per day , No proper Shelter for living and their Children suffering from Malnutrition, this is the regular story of Female, living below poverty Line in the remotest Villages of Bengal where Agriculture happens to be the prime occupation.
Cultivation being seasonal, employment is Temporary and inconsistent, leaving Men, Women from these Villages Unemployed for Months. 
No Alternative source of Income makes them Financially Crippled, Deprived of Food, Proper Sanitation, and Personal Hygiene. 
Poverty, Lack of Education and absence of Healthy Life continues over Generations, their Basic Human Rights being ignored makes them Socially Vulnerable, Exposed to Human Trafficking and other forms of Exploitation. 

The Beginning:
Sanjay had been with the IT/ Software industry for18 years, being an ardent Art lover, his passion for handicrafts and handloom took him to many remote Villages of Bengal.
One such being Nanoor, a small village of around 100 families under Bolpur subdivision of Birbhum district West Bengal.During his stay, he observed villagers (mostly women) hand embroidering and stitching Stoles, Scarves, and Sarees during their free time for their personal use and for selling.

There was a need for an " Open Marketplace " where rural artisan and the urban customer could meet, connect and buy Handcrafted items directly from its creators ensuring more transparency in the selling and buying process resulting in better price through fair trade  thus encouraging Artisans and in turn protecting the indigenous art forms from dying a premature death.  

The Decision :
Sanjay decided that he was going to bring dignity and prosperity into the lives of Bengal craftsmen while introducing to the world the beauty of authentic Bengali heritage arts, crafts, and handloom through e-commerce.
Sanjay Quit his successful IT Career In 2013 and established "rangamaati" (Red Soil) , but not as conventional NGO as expected, but as a Private Limited Company with a Social Objective in addition to Business Goals reminding him of our roots, heritage, the kindness of the villagers Artisan's passion for Art irrespective of Extreme Poverty. 

The Journey :
Back 2014 following the registration of  " rangamaati ", Sanjay moved to Bolpur Village in Shantiniketan and started working from there. He stayed at these Artisans homes and used to eat with them. He could see how from Vegetables and Rice, it came down to just plain boiled rice by the mid of the Year with Agricultural season closing.

rangamaati initiated as a livelihood generation project and aimed at providing an alternate source of income to women whose income was seasonal and unsecured due to seasonal agricultural unpredictability through utilizing their artistic Skills and developing an Open market linkage for Kantha Embroidery.

Today "rangamaati" specializes in handmade creations and promotes Traditional Craft such as Kantha Embroidery, Handloom Weaving, Natural Dyeing, Hand Block Printing.and sell its products under its brand “ rangamaati” through their eCommerce platform  www.rangamaati.com. Every Sale helps them build sustainable livelihoods for  Artisans. 
" rangamaati " acts as a bridge between rural artisans and global consumers in order to develop sustainable livelihoods and revive Bengal's rich craft heritage.

Challenges at Project's Fund Level :
Being a self-funded project, working on assignments and artwork production with limited personal savings is difficult.and back breaking. Financially he had a numbingly hard time after his savings were exhausted and had to survive off his father's Ex-Defence pension.

As the project expanded he was forced to sell off his wife’s jewelry but he continued working towards including more and more Kantha Artisans and continuing production of the artwork.
 Sanjay mentions "Getting Romantic and Hypothetical about Sustainable Development and actually doing the Development are two different things. It needs a lot of staying power and staying power mostly comes at a heavy cost"
Vision Vs Reality:
Sanjay has a Vision "One-day Karigaars and Artisans  of Bengal, India would earn a fair wage, be treated with dignity and respect and be able to live a life of Quality."
He has grand plans of Upscaling Rangamaati's Kantha Project involving the communities he works with, Procuring Raw Materials in bulk and distributing among Artisans who couldn’t afford to buy themselves. 

Having spent his lifetime savings he faces a fund crunch and can’t upscale or increase the volume of production. “Banks and governmental institutions turn him down because they find his idea of developing a Profit earning model for the Artisan belonging to the lower strata of the Society  " Not Profitable".
" We know we have to Scale Up, but don't want to become another "Sourcing Agency "picking up artworks from here and there and selling it earning a commission like other websites or Organisations. 

"Profit is important - but mainly as a measure of our efficiency rather than an End in itself". 
To Fight Generation old Poverty we need to develop Entrepreneurs in the Villages, at Organisation Level to Function as a Collective, says Sanjay. 

Today, in less than 6 years, rangamaati has worked with more than 120 Artisans who Stitches , Embroiders from their home-based workspace.

Through small assignments, Job works and distribution of raw materials among artisans varieties of contemporary handicrafts are produced by Artisans and are sold across various B2C channels.

Good News amid the Crisis:
Recently Government of INDIA has recognized rangamaati handicrafts as a Successful STARTUP under " StartUpIndia Initiative " as launched by Prime Minister of India August 2015.

Handicrafts & Handloom are the second biggest employment generation sector in rural India after Agriculture – but a lot of it is unorganized. He has, over the past 5 years been able to tap into this potential with his Operational and Technical Expertise. With YOUR SUPPORT he could Accelerate rangamaati's Objectives and Overcome the next set of Challenges.

What is Needed and Why :
rangamaati needs Your Love and Support to assist Artisans Purchase the much-required Raw Materials in larger Quantity, Upgrade Technology, and Build Infrastructure. He needs a JOINT EFFORT  to come out of this situation and carry on the Promotion and Sale of handicrafts and handloom for the Upliftment of Socio-Economic condition of Artisans.

Past 5 Years Sanjay only Envisioned and Strived towards lifting up communities rather than conducting a " For Profit Only " business, that is why today when rangamaati experiences an acute financial crunch I approach YOU ALL to come forward and Contribute towards strengthening his Vision and Mission to bring Change in Artisan Life.

How Your Contribution would Help :

* Sourcing Raw Materials Directly from Farmers & Producers:
Source Raw Material directly from Producers in higher Volume at reasonable prices ensuring we get better Quality products repeatedly,  Cutting down long-distance logistics cost and lesser challenge with the identification of authenticity of raw materials. All the mentioned factors combined would ensure lower production cost for rangamaati .

* Construction of Work-shed:
Construction of well-ventilated Work shed with Clean Drinking Water facilities for the artisan for all weather production, ensuring continuity of making the artwork during the rainy or extreme hot Summers. Without proper work-shed now during those months work has to be discontinued and Artisans remains confined to their production of Artwork.

* Technology Up-gradation :
Sanjay has plans for Upgrading rangamaati's website www.rangamaati.com to a more robust, dynamic interactive responsive eCommerce site. Site wise security implementation for a faster credit card transaction, SEO and paid Advertisement services with Facebook to promote before National and International Market Authentic Artwork of Bengal.
More Online Sales of Artwork would ensure more Job assignments for Artisan, thus better Socio-Economic Growth for the Artisan in longer run.

Why Do this even Matter?
* rangamaati is working hard towards empowering women who support their families in an area where income is seasonal and unpredictable.  More Online Sales of Artwork would ensure more Job assignments for Artisan, thus better Socio-Economic Growth for the Artisan in the longer run.      
* Sanjay is involved in the development of new market and other collaborative linkages for sale of Handicrafts & Handloom of Bengal. 

* rangamaati believes in Fair Trade and Fair Price and profit sharing Model, a good portion of the profits made from sales are shared among the Artisans as a bonus and reinvested. 
This investment leads the project in a direction that motivates the young generations of artisans to keep learning and mastering the inherited techniques giving flight to their dreams of becoming financially self-sustained and move towards a better Safe, Hygienic life.                     

* Eco-Friendly efforts like using Natural Dyes, Handweaving Fabrics, and involving Hand Embroidery makes rangamaati's products more ETHICAL and Help the company to expand pan India and Overseas.

Empowering Women:
Sanjay believes that communities of artisans, particularly women, deserve Economic Independence, and rangamaati aims to keep alive the rich tradition of their craftsmanship in a rapidly changing urban market.
75 % of rangamaati's artisans are women, and ramgamaati wouldn't have survived if not for these dedicated team. Opportunities provided to them Improve their Craft and Supplement their Incomes. 

Inspired by the past, but perfect for today, rangamaati's Garments and accessories are Ethically made and  Speaks of You and Artisans.
Their Active Participation in rangamaati’s operation helps them gain confidence to take ownership of their work and lives, thus Gradually Evolving from Laborers to Artisans and eventually to Self-Sustained Individual Entrepreneurs.

The Impact :

Your Contribution would ensure the needed infrastructure and procurement of Raw Material in Bulk and would help increase the existing capacity improving the complete production cycle of a product. It will also ensure that all active Artisans associated with rangamaati gets work assignments through out the Year. Workshed would improve the quality of the embroidery thus enabling Artisans to get a better price for their products.
Note: FaceBook India Extended its Support towards rangamaati by making this small douentary on rangaamaati's Kantha Artisans.

Funds utilization & Updates:
Every single contributor would periodically receive Campaign Updates and a full Fund utilization Report Monthly. Queries about Artisan, rangamaati's Vision, Scope and Objectives of this Campaign are most Welcome.

We are very HOPEFUL and BELIEVE that this campaign would help raise the fund as is required towards procuring Raw Materials as needed for upscaling Production and Upgrading Technology.

YOU CAN HELP an Artisan with Your Contribution Break Free from the Curse and Clutches of POVERTY and GIFT THEM a Safe, Hygienic, Sustainable livelihood and Brighter Future with HOPES for THEMSELVES and their Next Generations.

GIFT a Female Artisan of Bengal a chance to Fulfill her dreams.
BE THE HAND THAT STRENGTHENS OUR VISION.                            

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