Did you know that according to an estimate in 2015, around 170 million people in India lived in poverty? That is about 12.4 percent of the entire population. While the issue becomes agenda for every election, little is done on the ground to alleviate property. Many non-governmental organisations in India are quietly fighting poverty and Rang De is one such NGO that provides access to affordable micro loans to the underserved communities.
The not-for-profit organisation connects people to build a better future for those less fortunate. Rang De has many success stories and continues to connect those who can help with those who need help. Here we bring you one such success story, a glimpse into how a small investment can change a life, or many at a time.
To keep the wheel spinning
Located in Bhimanakone village of Shimoga district in Karnataka, is an institute that is keeping the tradition of handloom alive for well over 20 years. Charaka has ensured employment for women weavers, 150 in total. K V Prasanna, a playwright, activist and the founder of Charaka partnered with Rang De to receive low-interest loans to keep the women employed.
Charaka is a multi-purpose cooperative society engaged in the production of naturally dyed handloom products that are marketed under the brand name 'Desi' all over the country. Charaka provides employment to around 150 women who are also their own paymasters and take an active role in managing the day-to-day operations of the production unit.
Apart from the purchase of raw yarn, everything from spinning, dyeing, stitching is done in-house at the Charaka centre. Using extracts of naturally occurring raw materials such as areca nut, pomegranate, jaggery, rusted iron nails, the yarn is dyed using traditional dyeing methods. Dyed yarns are then spun and woven into the fabric that is cut and then stitched into finished products such as shirts, kurtas, bags etc.
Investment may be small, returns are always big
The products are sold under the brand name desi in stores located in Bangalore and Mysore. The unit required a micro loan of Rs 10 lakh to purchase raw material and to pay wages to its members. The last time that the unit partnered with the NGO, 180 people contributed in form of investments and donations. With the loan, the cooperative has grown considerably and now makes handmade products worth Rs 26 lakh per month. The benefits directly reflect on the people who work with the unit.