The Ima market is way more than just a marketplace. It is the backbone of livelihood for more than 5000 families - a way of life for countless women, a centre of information exchange, and a symbol of gender justice.
The recent covid outbreak has brought the lives of these women traders to a halt. The Ima market has been shut down as a part of safety measures against the outbreak. Amidst this crisis, the handloom workers in particular, are facing worst fate.The demand for their beautiful ware, made with hours of hardwork and a lifetime's practiced expertise cannot compete with the fight for essentials, and has seen a sharp decline.
Unable to sell the end products, these women entrepreneurs are now sitting on unsold inventory stacked up for the summer, which is usually a good season for their business. With every passing day, situations are getting worse for them, their liabilities increasing, and their business inching towards shut down.
In the larger picture the Manipur textile industry, including spinning, weaving (and knitting), fabric processing and garment-making units, play a major role in the state's GDP. At a closer look, these are individual women artisans and micro business owners who work relentlessly everyday to just make the ends meet for their household. You can help 100 such Manipuri handloom workers and their families by making a contribution to Milaap's Small Businesses Relief Fund. Milaap will take complete onus of beneficiary identification and execution. We will be posting weekly updates, and highlighting stories of grant recipients so that you can see the direct impact of your donation.
A small grant could be more than just a temporary solution for these businesses. It can actually help them get back on their feet and translate to a stable source of livelihood for even multiple families relying on the same business