Help our at-risk Karigars survive the Coronavirus Lockdown | Milaap
Help our at-risk Karigars survive the Coronavirus Lockdown
17%
Raised
Rs.206,611
of Rs.1,200,000
34 supporters
  • Chalk

    Created by

    Chalk Studio
  • K

    This fundraiser will benefit

    Karigars

    from New Delhi, Delhi

SHORT SUMMARY:

At-risk karigars and skill workers from impoverished communities do not have the safety net of financial savings or the flexibility of working from home, like many of us today. They also do not have enough money saved up to stock up on food, medical supplies and other basic necessities for their families and young ones.

We are seeking help from all the responsible and able citizens of our country to cover the basic earnings and supplies for our karigar community for the COVID-19 lockdown period.
This will be a service not just to them as individuals, but also to their families and their entire community at large.

  • We will provide them with ration, medical supplies and medical assistance.
  • This is a 100% not for profit campaign, and we will disclose the use of proceeds in a financial transparency report which will be sent to all contributors to the campaign.
  • Any surplus funds collected in this campaign will be used for providing ration and medical supplies to more at-risk families within these communities.


WHO ARE WE? OUR STORY:

Hi everyone,
My name is Nupur Nagpal. I along with my husband, Aakash Saikia, run Chalk Studio - a young footwear design and manufacturing label based out of New Delhi, India.

Seven years ago, we started our label with the intention of empowering artisans (karigars), shoemakers and at-risk skill workers in Delhi to earn a stable livelihood and secure their family's future, by giving them direct access to the growing Indian fashion and lifestyle market.

Chalk Studio has been our labour of love. Our life project.
The origin of this project was in the September of 2012. Both Aakash and I had been working steady jobs for nearly three years when we started doing the groundwork for a footwear label. During the innumerable trips through the narrow streets and back alleys of Old Delhi, we met some amazingly talented and dedicated artisans and skill-workers who gradually became a second family to us.

By late 2013, we knew we had found our calling. With nothing other than our paltry savings (from our paltry corporate salaries) and the trusting relationships that we had built along the way, we decided to take the plunge.

We were two naive 23-year-olds, with no financial support from parents, no lines of credit from banks, no VC funding, and no one to guide us through the ropes. We had nothing to fall back on. All we had was our sweat and toil, and an indomitable spirit. Our vision was to build a collective that enables sustainable growth for all workers and stakeholders.

Our operations started out of a single 6 x 6 compartment in the cramped alleys of Anand Parbat. We had 2 karigars, 1 of whom doubled as our pattern master. Aakash and I worked ALL the verticals. Design, sales, BD, merchandising, marketing, accounts, HR, admin, cleaning crew and janitorial services. Aakash continued to hold his job for another 3 years in order to bring in capital to put into this project while I handled the day-to-day functions of the business. We were working 3 jobs between the 2 of us just to make ends meet.

Very slowly but surely we started making progress. We built our client base and started selling online. Our brand started getting noticed. Our shoes walked the runway for top designers across the country. We started getting featured in top fashion & lifestyle magazines.

By the end of 2015, my husband decided to quit his job and make the switch full-time. We started making shoes for other reputed national and international brands in order to bring in the capital where Aakash's quitting his job had left a gap.

Through all these years, we have slowly grown our small setup into a near 20 people organisation. We have managed to provide steady employment to karigars and daily wage earners who were previously struggling to even put food on the table for their families.

We have been able to give them safe and healthy working environments with humane working hours and flexible shifts. All our karigars get the same company benefits as would a corporate employee. They are provided medical insurance and they get referral benefits. They also get paid leaves each month. We spend time and resources to train them in both hard skills (vocational) as well as soft skills that will help them in their career paths. Today, through our organisation, they have access to corporate banking, education loans for self and family, medical assistance, guidance & counselling, computer skills training, as well as leadership & communication training. We have also put in place a steady referral network of start-ups to help their family and community members get employed.

Our entire team has been built up like a close-knit family, and consequently, all of the people working with us have stayed on for a very long time. Most of our karigars and support staff have been with us for over 4 years!

As a consequence of the constant reinvestment into the organisation and the welfare of its members, we have created a platform for growth that attracts talent as well as business opportunities that contribute further into that growth, which in turn allows us to hire more talent and touch more lives.

However, a fallout of this approach has been that we do not have the luxury of any spare capital to tide us through a global crisis such as a total lockdown. This puts our karigars and the extended karigar community at risk during this global pandemic.


HERE'S THE PROBLEM:

We have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak for several weeks and we took pre-emptive steps to mitigate the risk for our karigars in particular and all team members at large. Keeping our team's safety in mind, we first provided hand sanitizers and medical supplies to all the team members. We specially trained our karigars in safety and hygiene measures and taught them the importance of social distancing for the sake of their own and their families' safety.

We then asked everyone to go into self-isolation almost a full week PRIOR to the Government mandated lockdown.
We gave our karigars fully paid leaves for the aforementioned week, at our expense.

However, the full nationwide lockdown being enforced for an additional 3 weeks has brought our organisation's earnings to a complete standstill even as we have to tend to fixed costs and overheads such as rentals, utility bills, vendor payments, taxes, etc. Currently, it is also not clear if this lockdown shall be extended further.

Our karigars do not have the safety net of financial savings or the flexibility of working from home, like a lot of us today.

They also do not have enough money saved up to stock up on food, medical supplies and other basic necessities for their families, young ones included.


We intend to keep paying our karigars even in the absence of any productive work or any earnings, in order to help them and their families combat this crisis properly. We cannot and WILL NOT add to their burdens by taking away their livelihood in these troubled times.

Sadly, we do not have the capital to tide us through this crisis and keep everyone afloat. So, we are seeking help from all the responsible and able citizens of our country to cover the basic earnings for our karigar community and other weekly wage workers in this community for the next 21 days.

Our karigars come from extremely impoverished communities and this will be a service not just to them as individuals, but also to their families and their entire community at large.


HERE'S HOW WE ARE SOLVING THIS PROBLEM:
  • There are 12 at-risk karigar families with the least financial cushion who need our immediate support. We will first tend to them.
  • All of these 12 karigar families come from 2 main low-income localities in Delhi, which we have already mapped in detail.
  • We will give these karigars their full earnings' worth along with some extra cash to help them buy essential supplies and aid their families.
  • We will also provide them with ration, medical supplies and medical assistance as needed.
  •  We will disclose the use of proceeds in a financial transparency report which will be sent to all contributors to the campaign.
  • Any surplus funds collected in this campaign will be used for providing ration and medical supplies to more at-risk families within these communities.
  • We will personally ensure the responsible distribution of any kits or medical supplies while ensuring ‘Social Distancing’ guidelines.


HOW YOU CAN HELP?

If you want to help our skilled workers, karigars and their families, please chip in with whatever you can afford. Even a mere Rs. 100 can go a long way towards securing supplies for the Karigars and their families.

If you’re a business owner and you have the means to take action, make a large tax-deductible donation.

Donations go toward Chalk Studio's Welfare Fund, personally overseen by me and Aakash, and are used to cover the cost of livelihood for our at-risk karigars first, followed by additional aid in the means of ration and medical supplies for their families, further followed by ration and medical supplies for other families in their communities.

Thanks for your consideration.

As the need evolves, so will our response. We’ll help these communities to the best of our ability once the primary 12 karigar families are taken care of.

We’ll continue to support at-risk communities through access to food and medical supplies or other basic necessities.

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