London's chef joins hands with UK NGO for Banarasi Saree weavers

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Varanasi, Oct 8 (UNI) London could soon have a charity dinner at a famous restaurant as well as a road marathon, all for the cause of Banarasi Saree weavers, presently under plight.

Atul Kochar, a young chef from Jamshedpur, who runs 'Benaras,' a prestigious restaurant in London was in the city with the members of Find Your Feet, a UK-based NGO working with organisations connected with Banarasi Saree weavers of Varanasi.

Interacting with UNI after a programme organised by city based NGO Human Welfare Association (HWA) and 1246 weavers self-help group Banaras Bunkar Samiti (BBS), Mr Kochar said ''our restaurant in London hosts a charity dinner for the Indians in distress.

The next dinner could be hosted exclusively for the cause of Banarasi Saree weavers who are presently in dismal state.'' Ms Catriona Fox, a representative of the UK-based NGO informed ''we are presently working on projects for people in distress in four Indian states namely, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttaranchal and Chattisgarh. In UP, we are helping people in three projects, including brick kiln workers group in Allahabad, weavers of Banaras and vegetable growers of Rae Bareli.

Presently, 10-15 per cent of funds raised from charity in London for India is spent for the Banarasi Saree weavers. We now intend to scale up this percentage by organising more Banarasi Saree specific charities in England. In the near future, we can organise a road marathon for the revival of Banarasi Saree industry,'' she added.

''The NGO presently raises around three lakh pounds annually for its projects in India and has been working with the Banarasi Saree weavers through the HWA and BBS for the last 6 years,'' Ms Fox informed.

''We now look forward at rendering a helping hand to other weavers of Varanasi and neighbouring Mau district, especially those who like BBS weavers are not only weaving signature Banarasi Saree, but also fashioning trendy stoles, bags and belts from the same silk fabric,'' Ms Fox added.

Mr Kochar also assured of working with the BBS-HWA and FYF to help Banarasi Saree weavers set up stores in India and abroad to showcase their products.

''Let them first reach Dilli Haat and then we are all for them in London,'' he said.

Mr Kochar and Ms Fox also joined two local weavers Miyadin and Malati Devi to release 'Taana Baana' -- a VCD -- narrating the present state of Banarasi Silk industry.


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