We aim to build an enabling ecosystem for the collective gain of 10,000 artisan households by 2030.
At the core of each craft is the artisan. A craft survives and gets passed on to future generations only if the artisan thrives, not just survives. Our journey started with the idea of “working with the artisan”, with a firm belief that 'I am because you are'.
Today, we have transformed into an institution that has demonstrated the inherent capacity of the artisans to become a key player in the craft economy when they are supported with the right skills and access to resources. Since 2005, we have been transforming craftspeople into community-builders and collective-entrepreneurs who can understand and interact with the market.
We started our work with 10 weavers in the Khadi cluster villages near Ponduru, Andhra Pradesh in early 2006. Since then, with a small team of rural professionals mostly from weaver backgrounds, we have worked to train weavers in all aspects of running a successful business enterprise – from production, technology, finance management and marketing to institution building.
In 2006, we also established four mutually aided cooperative societies in Srikakulam, which were merged into a single Producer Company in 2014 - the 50-member strong Vamshadhara Weavers’ Producer Company. 2013 brought us a new milestone - we worked to promote the first women weavers’ producer company in India in collaboration with ALC-India, the Godavari Women Weavers’ Services Producer Company. Established in the East Godavari District of AP, it currently has 300 women-members.
Being a strong believer in developing human resources from artisan families themselves, we have often kept our own team lean, while working to develop the capacities of the Producer Company staff. Today, Chitrika Foundations’ team consists of 13 members working in Production, Design, Marketing and Institution Building for both Producer Companies.
A large number of artisans in any craft community make ‘regular or typical’ varieties and are often classified as ‘medium-skilled’. The few highly skilled artisans are often well connected and are within the ‘designer circuits’ leaving a large number of artisans ‘off the grid’. A design approach that is inclusive – which a large number of artisans can adapt to with existing skills or with minimal training while gradually increasing their earnings – has been at the core of our design philosophy. While gently pushing the ‘skill boundaries’ of the artisans, we work on ‘Re-Presenting’ their traditional techniques and design repertoires through fresh interpretations and product lines that are representative of market aspirations.
- Improving the financial returns, economic benefits and contributing towards social well being of artisans through developing a fair value-chain
- Developing and resurrecting self sustaining institutions of artisans
- Providing artisans access to technology, finance, design and market inputs
- Developing human resources for enhancing artisan livelihoods – service providers, professionals and volunteers
- Extending support services to other organizations and institutions working with artisans across the country
- Creating and developing common platforms to bring together artisans, their organizations, professionals, service providers and other institutions
- Advocating better legal and policy environment to support the livelihoods of artisans
Model of work
Our Key Milestones:
- A 100% increase in the weavers’ income, for members of the Vamshadhara Weavers’ Producer Company
- 100% change in the product portfolio of the weavers in the last five years
- Efficiency upgrades in the production process through centralized pre-loom facilities
- USPs of unconventional colors and contemporary Dyeing Technology to build a handloom artisan brand that is ‘zero-bleed’
- A cumulative sales turnover of over INR 8 crores, since 2007
Our Future Goals:
- Create a talent pool of professionals across the crafts value-chain from among the artisans themselves, through “Craft-Management Learning Centers” that would impart techno-managerial skills
- Create an ‘artisan owned and managed brand’
- Create “Production Centers” at the collectives that will house pre-loom and post-loom activities including an automated dyeing unit
- Research traditional spinning ‘desi cotton’ technology and set up a ‘Spinning Unit’
- Develop a body that will work on creating better business eco-system for crafts sector
- Developing “Artisan Banks”
- Create a low-cost retail chain for marketing crafts
Board of Directors
- Mr. Abhiram Katta, Chair person & Treasurer ACA, PGDM –IIM (B) Presently working as a consultant, Hyderabad
- Mrs. Vijaya Switha Grandhi, CEO PGDRM IRMA, Development Professional, founder of Chitrika, Hyderabad
- Mr. R. K. Anil BITS Pilani, Rural Management IRMA, Development Professional, Hyderabad
- Mr. G. V. Sarat Kumar B.Sc, PGDM Rural Management, Development Professional, Hyderabad
- Ms. Jhansi Nakka Post Graduate in Women’s Studies, Development Professional, Hyderabad
- Ms. Samyuktha Gorrepati Post Graduate diploma in Textile design & Development NIFT, Designer, Hyderabad
- Mr. Batta Lakshmana Rao Weaver, Devaravalasa
Meet Our Team
Meet the Vamshadhara Team
Sri Uma Chandra MACS formed in 2006 was transformed into Vamshadhara Weavers’ Producer Company (VWPC) in 2014. It is located in Devaravalasa village of Srikakulam District, Andhra Pradesh and has over 110 weaver members in Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts.
Meet the Godavari Team
The Godavari Women Weavers’ Services Producer Company (GWWSPC) is the first ‘all-women’ weavers’ producer company in AP and was promoted in 2014 with support from ALC India and Chitrika Foundation. It is located in Mandapeta town of East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh and has over 300 women weaver members from in and around Mandapeta.