Bunavat is a social enterprise with wellbeing and empowerment of weavers at the core of our work. We not only want to ensure a steady stream of income for our weavers through sale of products sourced from them directly, but always work for their holistic development. As a startup, we have just began our journey of implementing these programs in the last few months and here's a quick summary of our work.
#SUPPORTAWEAVER IN TIMES OF COVID-19
Owing to the nationwide lockdown starting 22nd March 2020 due to Corona pandemic, the textile industry has suffered a huge setback. With orders being cancelled and payments held up, weavers and artisans across the country have been impacted severely. In few of the clusters that Bunavat works with, the situation was worrisome with weavers not having enough money to provide even food for their families. In addition to making a pre-payment for future stock in some clusters, we also launched a crowdfunding campaign called #SupportAWeaver and raised Rs. 1,36,611 to support 12 weaver families of Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh, 7 women artisans from Sujani, Bihar, 1 weaver family from Kotpad, Odisha, 1 weaver family in Bangladesh and about 300 weavers/ ancillary workers of Begumpur, West Bengal. The donation collected has been used to pay for ration and rent for these families.
DEVELOPMENTAL MODULE IMPLEMENTATION IN MAHESHWAR, MADHYA PRADESH
Bunavat works in the weaving cluster of Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh famous for their silk-cotton handwoven sarees. Along with a student team from Ashoka University, we worked on creating a holistic developmental module which consisted of actionable input regarding the key question of motivation for senior weavers (average age being 30 years), whereas for the junior weavers (average age being 22.5 years), the module consisted of life skills and technical skills which included photography, social media and communications. The module spanned over two days in February 2020 and was held at The Handloom School in Maheshwar. The workshop for junior weavers was aimed at understanding an array of customers and thereafter, effective ways of communicating with them. They were also given a session on how to make a sales pitch for their products and market them on social media. The workshop for senior weavers was centred around boosting their morale through showcasing videos on customer review and people in cities appreciating their craft. It ensured that the weavers see purpose and take pride in what they do. It was followed by a session on 'Colour Inspiration' which gave them an insight on different colour combinations and encouraged them to come up with their own colour palettes and designs. A total of 20 weavers were part of our first skill development program.
A crowdfunding initiative was undertaken in November 2018 to provide winter supplies to ancillary workers in Begumpur cluster of West Bengal. The initiative was implemented for 72 ancillary workers in January 2019 where blankets were distributed in the cluster.
Bunavat has always brought back stories from the ground, to be cherished by all. #ThankAWeaver campaign reverses this process and takes stories from the customers and cities to the ground, to the various weaving clusters. To ensure our weavers find motivation in their work despite the plunging demand of handlooms and financial instability, we have decided to take back your saree stories to them. As a part of the developmental module for our weavers in Maheshwar, we asked our customers to drape a Maheshwari saree and record a short video telling a weaver why they take pride in draping this saree and the craftsmanship behind it. When the videos were shown to the weavers, it was absolutely priceless to see their smiles and welled-up eyes.
This is an open campaign. If you wish to extend a token of gratitude to the weaver community and you can't be there in person, simply record a video thanking them and send it to us so that we can share it with them whenever we meet them on our cluster visit. It can be any of the weaves that we are working on. We are sure these messages will bring a smile to their faces and encourage them to continue their craft with love and pride. You can also post the videos on your social media handles with the hashtag #thankaweaver and tag us.
This is an open campaign. We welcome you to make a contribution towards our developmental programs. Your support will help us in the empowerment of our weaving communities through various skill upgradation programs. To know more, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +91-9667665572.