The Success Story of Sahaj & The Tribal Artisans of Gujarat
The success stories at ‘Sahaj’, a nonprofit NGO that works to uplift the rural communities in remote parts of the Indian state of Gujarat, are heartwarming. Sahaj provides comprehensive training and support services that enable tribal families to earn home-based livelihood through their traditional handicraft skills, as an alternative to seasonal urban migration. This increases family income, allows children to remain in school and stabilizes families in safer, healthier environments. Sahaj’s core mission is to encourage economic empowerment of women artisans through handicrafts, uplift their social status and strive for their education, health and financial security.
Sahaj began their work with traditional tribal bead work in 1994, and very soon realized the importance of design development and trainings to meet market demands. They went on to develop a beautiful range of commercially viable products using traditional handicraft skills with design research and training support provided by our trainers/experts. Over the years, they have been successful in creating a niche market for tribal handicrafts and developing a pro-tribal brand. Artisans who want to join Sahaj undergo skill development training and acquire basic skills to work on different products. After the completion of training, they start working for Sahaj and earn fair wage for their work. Some artisans also choose to start working independently as producers extensively supported by Sahaj to avail loans, purchase equipment and start their own business. Sahaj has so far trained around 3,000 artisans who are earning a living through handicrafts and hopes to reach 5000 by 2020 !
Along with training and employment, Sahaj also provides women with financial literacy and knowledge of health, nutrition and hygiene. With the help of another charitable foundation, they provide free supplementary nutrition to 700 children in rural areas!
A stunning testimony to Sahaj’s work is the beauty and quality of their handicrafts. Seva is elated to carry some of these products that reflect the vibrancy of the tribal culture and the joyous work done by skilled artisans who are uplifting their community!