Murshidabad, Jan 20, 2017: Handloom weaves have breathed a new lease of life in vulnerable women in West Bengal’s Murshidabad who would otherwise be at the risk of being trafficked thanks to a livelihood-creation project taken up by Harvard University’s South Asia Initiative (SAI) in collaboration with Tata Trusts.
Freeset Fabrics, an NGO working in Murshidabad, was selected by SAI as one of the six social enterprises that were given grants and support for rural livelihood creation in the Indian crafts sector.
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This is part of an 18-month project named ‘Livelihood Creation in India’.
“Our objective of supporting the NGO is livelihood creation in poor rural communities of Murshidabad for vulnerable women who would otherwise be at risk of trafficking into prostitution, bonded labour or migration,” said Shashank Shah, Project Director and Fellow Harvard University SAI.
The other five social enterprises that also received grants are Women Weave from Madhya Pradesh, Kumaun Grameen Udyog (KGU) from Uttarakhand, Craftizen Foundation from Karnataka, Chitrika from Andhra Pradesh and Raah Foundation from Maharashtra.
They have chosen handloom textiles to build on a tradition that was once thriving in this area but which has declined over recent decades, Shah added.
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The core theme of the project focuses on three key areas: rural livelihood creation through emphasis on the handicrafts and handloom sectors, educational, social and economic empowerment of women and science and technology-based social entrepreneurship.
“As part of this program, budding social entrepreneurs and crafts enterprises in India applied for social innovation grants totaling Rs 50 lakh, to stimulate interventions and scale up existing initiatives that can lead to greater impact in select geographies,” a statement said. (IANS)