Women Artisans:Migrant Workers Livelihood Project
CSR Initiative by:HCL Foundation
NCR, Delhi -Crochet Project
Nearly one-third of India’s population are the migrant inhabitants that have drifted from rural areas to cities in search for work and improved socio-economic conditions. More than half of these migrant workers are illiterate and have not even completed their primary education because of which they are unfortunately exposed to exploitation leaving them with less than expected income to provide for their families. As the main reason behind their migration is the hope for a better livelihood, women migrants who constitute an overwhelming majority need to step-in and are expected to contribute towards the family income.
Women play a crucial role in the growth of any economy and hence it is essential to promote their skill development to provide high productivity, increased opportunities, and higher income. With inherent dexterity, aesthetic acumen and innate skills the migrant women are able to pick up the art of weaving and crafting with minimal effort and with proper training received from master artisans. For centuries, India has remained the hub for weaving and handicrafts, with techniques and proficiencies handed down from one generation to another. Crochet is one such art form that has transcended all boundaries and become popular across the country ever since its introduction to India in the early 20th century. Women in India took to crocheting with ease, possibly on account of their inherent predisposition to the craft.
Mon Ami Foundation along with HCL Foundation is committed to helping these women migrants earn a sustainable livelihood through crochet skill building initiatives. The team at Mon Ami Foundation introduced crochet to 250+ women migrant workers through a 75-day Skill Enhancement Program. For the first 30 days, they were taught the essential skills of the crochet craft technique after which they received advanced training for the next 30 days that included teaching them complex design and production processes. In the remaining 15 days, the women were trained in self-help groups, computer know-how, yoga sessions for their mental and physical wellbeing and finally advising them on the financial front that included opening bank accounts and informative sessions on investment and spending.
- The migrant women who were a part of this project not only picked up the basic crochet skills, but with the help of advanced training under the master craftsmen, they learned new and modern designs that helped them in creating products apt even for the international market.
- They learned the skills and techniques to ensure an expectable production capacity even while working from home which indirectly helped their work become more dependable especially when their market audience was being directed globally.
- At the end of their training period, the migrant women were able to create more than 900 items that included pet products, home furnishing products, toys for infants etc. All these products were clubbed under one main unit i.e Craft Hub and for their market outreach, their work was not only in demand locally because of the various online and offline platforms where they were showcased but they were also able to fetch international buyers.
- The training period helped the migrant women achieve a 360-degree growth as it helped boost their confidence, achieve a sense of community especially when they were displaced from their native villages, focus on their mental and physical wellbeing through the yoga sessions that formed a part of the training and also achieve financial independence through their newly learned skills.
- With little girls often accompanying their mothers for the training sessions, they too picked up these skills which ultimately might help pave their career paths and offer them a sense of continuity.