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Last updated: 22 Feb, 2023  

Sitharaman.9.Thmb.jpg Bringing a change by 'Backing Women Artisans'

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IANS | 21 Feb, 2023
With an aim to assist women artisans across India, American Express - the globally integrated payments company - with Dastkar, an NGO, held a support programme, 'Backing Women Artisans', at the Nature Bazaar Venue in Chattarpur on Tuesday.

Benefiting over 14,000 women across India, the programme has supported their economic empowerment through market visibility, recognition and earnings and has helped build financial resilience among women-led small businesses hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Based on the theme 'AT HOME', phase two of the project included household products like soft furnishings, home accessories, art and wall hangings, basketry, and floor coverings.

Twelve women-based craft groups with unique identities and a strong will to bring change were selected from across India.

Four designers - Harpreet Padam, Puneet Kaushik, Rema Kumar, Sangeeta Sen - with over 25 years of experience and expertise in working with various craft techniques mentored and worked with each group over a period of nine months to produce a range of 15 items each, including one show-stopper piece in each range.

Talking at the event, Padma Shri awardee and Co-founder and Chairperson of Dastkar, Laila Tyabji, said: "At the end of phase one of our project, there was a clear need to address more than mere subsistence. For ultimate survival and sustainability, we needed to ensure that the hand skills of Indian craftswomen garner their rightful place in the Indian and international marketplace. For this, new product development and design was a primary necessity."

"We thank American Express for recognising this need and continuing with its support with an additional grant of approx. Rs 1 crore," said the social worker, designer, writer, and craft activist.

Vibha Bajaj, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Asia, American Express, who was also present at the event, said: "We are strongly committed to women's empowerment and backing small businesses. Our association with Dastkar has been very fulfilling and inspiring, where craftswomen have gained a new lease of life with increased earnings and self-confidence."

"The programme sought to honour, enable, and empower these women artisans, giving them their own place in the economic mainstream - as earners and entrepreneurs, and we are proud to have been able to achieve this objective," Bajaj added.

At the event on Tuesday, the craft groups were introduced to design techniques like design thinking and colour theory, as well as rigorous quality control.

"The project support has been a creative one which helped us brainstorm on making new scalable products for the wider market," said Nilanjana Das, Founder of Action Centre for Transformation (ACT), a crafts group based out of Haryana.
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