A once dying community of immensely talented handicrafts men and women is now gradually finding its footing in the world of rampant commercialisation, urbanisation, and power looms.
The Foundation currently works with over 300 men and women across Bihar alone with a strong foothold in four districts of the state, and endeavours to continue its work furthermore.
Bun.Kar Bihar is the retail brand that helps showcase,market and sell the hand mades of hand spinners,weavers and embroidery artisans of the state to ensure sustainable orders on the weavers looms.
When the arrival of the mill yarn broke into the weaving community, many hand-skilled weavers lost their jobs and livelihoods at the hands of machine run mills which produced yarn at a speed they never could match, and at a more economical cost. This conversion soon saw a large scale exodus of this hand craft wither away, where many spinner and weaver families turned towards other means of sustenance, mostly in the form of harsh but alluring urban dreams and migration to Gulf countries.
Bun.Kar Bihar aims at helping spinners recreate and relive the magic that their fingers were perhaps born to create. The seed which was planted to revive the hopes, skills, and livelihood of one spinner, has now blossomed into a beautiful community of spinners who work on their kisan charkhas and produce pure hand spun yarn for weavers to weave pure hand spun and hand wovens .
Bun.Kar Bihar has worked consistently and tirelessly to bring back crafts that colour Bihar’s heritage with bright hues. The team works with 107 hand spinners,30 weavers and 20 embroiderers so far, to start believing in this skill that this community once bore with immense pride. The team has not just been a source of inspiration, but has also provided women spinners with Kisan charkha, weavers with handloom units complete with inverter facilities to create an environment of continuity and progress. As a result of the Foundation's relentless efforts,there has been a spike in not just skills being revisited, but in the younger generation returning to give this legacy the chance it deserves. Weavers and their families are now working continuously, inspired to create a better livelihood for themselves and their community solely with the weaving that they do. Bun.Kar Bihar has also gone a step further to provide extra facilitation services required such as dyeing units, washing units, among others.
Women face strong restrictions both patriarchal and community driven which restricts them to step forward and with lack of opportunities it isa hindrance to their growth as a self-relaint individual. It is to counter this ill in our society that the Foundation helped empower a small group of 50 women from Siwan district, by teaching them how to stitch on Juki machines. They were trained to be able to stitch school uniforms professionally for Delhi Public Schools (DPS) at Patna, Pune, Coimbatore, Ludhiana, and Gaya. Now vertically integrated with Saraf Enterprises (a business enterprise which provides uniforms to DPS), this group has grown to over a 100 women who stitch over 80,000 uniforms per year professionally, and are also financially independent in their own right.Today she steps out each morning,confidence in her gait that bespoke her indentity and self worth.This has set rolling a small movement,cutting through caste and community bonds, in the villages of Narendrapur panchayat that is influencing more women to step forward,learn skills to empower themselves for a better life.
Srijani Foundation has also trained to empower 24 rural women from Siwan in handloom weaving, in May 2016. They were taught how to create basic fabric on a hand loom, and were provided raw materials to help start the process of handloom spinning independently. They have been integrated into Takshila Foundation since February 2018 for sustainable livelihood opportunities in the textile market.Although about 325 women were trained to spin yarn,today 107 continue to earn a small sum by spinning yarn in their homes.This has empowered the spinners with social recognition in her home as well as the society at large.She has cut across the patriarchal, caste & community bonds to move ahead and spin for her needs.
Our small group of 20 women artisans work from home to embellish surfaces of handloom textiles as saris,fabrics and home line too.They have learnt skills and today they earn to support their children's tuition and schools fees.
Impacting community through revival of handlooms
As part of my individual initiative in 2013,I have helped weavers of Jamalhata to revive basic handloom weaving which is today sustaining over 41 weaver families in this village. There were only 3-4 handlooms when I visited the village in 2013 which was a shadow of a bustling handloom village with truckload of mosquito nets,gamchas(towels)and bedsheets sold in the local bazaar in Gorakhpur,U.P. The pounding of machine mades and withdrawal of subsidies on cotton led to extinction of handlooms in this village,as in other places as well.
Riyaz, lost his right arm in a cracker factory while trying to fend for his family and many left leaving broken families in their wake.
Reviving handlooms was an extremely challenging task but with the market support of Takshila Foundation 41 weaver families slowly joined to weave for their living and have been integrated with Vidyarthi Enterprises for sustainable orders to weave school uniform fabric for Delhi Public Schools at Patna,Pune,Ludhiana and Coimbatore.It is important to know this village had given-up handloom weaving in the early 80's which was one of the reason to trigger male migration to the Gulf states.Reviving their traditional craft and assuring them with sustainable orders has influenced 5 weavers to return to their native village and craft.
It is a small team that works with the intent to build skills and help the rural and semi-urban communities of women and men to step forward,learn and create not just for a better living but also to revive,restore and promote the rich arts and crafts of their state.
To ensure spinners and weavers get continuous work on their looms,we have to ensure cotton sliver,yarn stocks and timely payments to the artisans.It is also important to pay the small team of 10 who work as one to guide ,support and move forward with the artisan communities for a better living for all.
1) Average earning of a weaver is approx 10,000,therefore for 25 weavers it is Rs 2,50,000.It is important to note that a skilled weaver for a high-end textile can earn 18000-20,000 per month.
2) To ensure non-stop production on 25 looms.the average raw material cost is Rs 2,25,000 per month,
3) Hand spinners(Average of 90 spinners spin cotton yarn per month as not all spin per month due to personal/family commitments) to spin at home at their free will/idle time require cotton sliver of Rs 65,000 and
Rs 50,000-60,000 for spinning wages per month.
Program,administrative and overheads need 4,00,000 per month.
Current state of handloom spinners and weavers need uplifting hands to empower and sustain for gen next to be influenced and join to preserve and promote the heritage that stands threatened today due to neglect and loss of patronage.
Very little has been done to sustain their efforts to not leave their traditional heritage
and their families in search of alternate livelihood.
Bun.Kar Bihar needs funds to continue to provide them support to ‘Weave for their Living’.
The Foundation is intent to not have another Riyaz lose his hand or families to scatter in face of migration threats to the Gulf countries.
Your support will ensure Srijani Foundation continues to work with the artisan communities for their livelihoods and gradually train and empower more to Weave for their Living.