Indias heritage with handicrafts is legendary, with techniques and proficiencies handed down from one generation to the next.
Crafters work collectively to produce designs that have withstood the test of time. Whether its the marble carvers from Agra, Kanchipuram silk weavers, toymakers of Channapatna, filigree artisans of Cuttack, block printers of Ajrakhpur or textile handicrafters of Bhuj, the power of communities crafting together is undeniable. However, what these crafters lack is the ability to take designs to the next level. With no formal training in design or skill development, they are reliant on external support to help them reinvent their craft to make it relevant to contemporary needs.
Mon Ami Foundation, in association with HCL Foundations Craft Hub works with migrant communities to develop a sustainable livelihood through crochet crafting. By offering design and marketing support to these communities, crafters create innovative products with utilitarian value in urban markets. During their interactions with migrant women, Mon Ami Foundation has seen that working in communities helps:
Empower women: by learning an additional skill, these women have the opportunity to earn an incremental income and become economically independent
Create narratives that count: the sense of accomplishment on getting a stitch perfect and creating a marketable product, while working among peers, gives an inexplicable boost of confidence to these women.
Weave meaningful conversations: normally used to working alone, and displaced from their families, community initiatives give women a sense of belonging and purpose.
Pave career pathways for Gen-Next: childcare becomes a part of working in communities. With little girls often accompanying their mothers and picking up crochet skills over time, there is a sense of continuity.
Working with women in communities, the crochet movement lead by Mon Ami Foundation and HCL Foundations Craft Hub, that began 2015 impacts the lives of 100 families in Delhi NCR.
In the years to come, we would like to expand our reach in different areas in terms of the crafters we skill, the markets we cater to and the corporates we collaborate with.