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Lavanya Bahuguna


JWB Interacted With 2 Projects On A Mission To Transform The Rural India

  • JWB Post
  •  April 25, 2016


The 4th edition of Maahi Roj 2016 had various social enterprises coming to Jaipur to take workshops about different ways in which humans can rediscover their relationship with the Mother Nature. 

Meghna Chawla of Foster & Forge Foundation

Last weekend, JWB got to interact with two such organizations: W-IDEA and The Stitching Project. AnanTaya, who organizes Maahi Roj every year, invited the founding people behind these social projects that are empowering the rural India by providing them livelihood and making them financially independent.

of W-IDEA told the audience, “We’re few friends who look after the project. We are called the ‘Foster & Forge Foundation‘ where our basic idea is to foster friendships with the artisans and forge a bond that can help them grow stronger.”

Accompanying her was an artisan, Ishtiyaq Ali, an expert in Glasswork. He took the mic and explained, “My whole family is into glasswork and have only known making beads. But when I met the people of W-IDEA, I realized I could do much more with my artwork. Today, they give me ideas and I inculcate them. For example, a Tic Tac Toe game with a wooden board has glass studs. I paint on them to make the game look more attractive and playful even for the elder people.”

Meghna further stated how their NGO has a sub-project called ‘BISRA’ where the members take care of the education of the artisans’ kids. “We’ve tied-up with 122 schools across NCR that help us take the noble idea forward,” said Meghna.

She added, “W-IDEA is not just about one artisan or one product line our artisans are good at. In fact, we are a mix of communities where people from various fields like business, law, education, leisure, etc. come together to pour in their ideas in order to make the lives of unfavorable and forgotten artists better.”

For the year 2016, W-IDEA has already planned a few tie-ups and local fairs to bring the world closure to these craftsmen. They plan to call it VOW – a shared commitment of the members towards these workers.

Fiona Wright of The Stitching Project

Fiona Wright of has a similar vision. Living in a village near Pushkar after getting married to an Indian man left Fiona, a Textile Designer, with no choice but to look for an innovative way to keep her occupied. Her urge made her meet rural women who were good at stitching work. Fiona then thought to teach her popular designing ways to these uneducated and underprivileged women.

Fiona shared, “I hired people who were good at stitching, at that, I was determined to teach the work to those who were willing to begin a career and earn some decent capital. I dragged my husband everywhere to be my Translator. Forget Hindi; I couldn’t imagine myself communicating in Marwari!”

But it wasn’t just the design that Fiona was handling; she also took care of the marketing part. “I know how the tourists who come to Pushkar hunt for not-so-expensive bohemian clothes. From day one, I knew I had to create clothes meant for the Hippie minds using the Indian natural products like Indigo dyes, Block prints, etc.”, remarked Fiona.

As far as the training and exposure of these artisans are concerned, both W-IDEA and The Stitching Project are sincerely providing them with the markets that welcome their talent with open arms, be it in India or abroad.




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