Update from the field: crafts transformation and women weavers in Kachchh, India

Women have been integral part of Vannat (handloom weaving) processes since centuries in Kachchh, however, their role and work has often gone unnoticed and unpaid. Through this case study, we are trying to bring the voices of women weavers who are involved in plastic weaving to the forefront by formation of a women’s team which began in June, 2017. Kachchh currently forms part of the Gujarat state in western India.

Recycled plastic weaving, creating cloth out of waste plastic bags, has become the main source of income for many women in Avadhnagar village of Kachchh. The journey of becoming plastic weavers has not only provided them source of income but has also generated awareness and confidence to raise their voices and opinions about their issues in the otherwise strict patriarchal community.  These women now aspire to start their independent weaving unit, are demanding for equal pay and direct access to market without the intermediaries.

But before addressing their issues related to weaving, a need has been felt to bring the women together to address issues in their own villages before coming out in the market. Hence, a process has been initiated by Khamir and KMVS (Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan) to help women identify their problems and organize themselves to address their issues. In September, 2017, an informal meeting was organized with the objective of understanding what does holistic well-being mean to them, rather than only focusing on women’s’ role from the craft’s perspective. As part of the meeting, the women were requested to draw images of what they perceived their future to be like, what development they would want for themselves.   The dreams of becoming independent and educated were present almost in every drawing…

A course of action is being planned to strengthen the team and achieve social empowerment and livelihood security. The journey has begun and we are hopeful to witness many more meaningful interactions and initiate dialogue towards holistic transformations…

Keep an eye on   our ACKNOWL-EJ blog and facebook page for more updates from our Women’s Team!

This case study is being conducted by ACKnowl-EJ coordinators Kalpavriksh, using the Alternative Transformation Framework. For more information please see our case studies page. Blog contribution by Kalpavriksh member and ACKnowl-EJ Research Associate Radhika Mulay