In a remote village, nestled in the gateway to Western ghats, not too far away from Jog falls, is Bhimanakone. And in this village is an organization that would take you back in time to the days when ‘spinning’ and making ones own clothes was a matter of great pride and self respect.
Founded to restore these values is Charaka – a women’s co-operative that produces hand made, naturally dyed apparel. The urban consumers in Karnataka who are now familiar with the ‘Desi’ brand of apparel are unaware that this is a result of the hard work and perseverance of hundreds of women in rural Karnataka, now employed by Charaka.
Our first visit to Charaka happened out of sheer curiosity. Being ardent fans of the Desi brand, it was only a matter of time before we questioned who the producers of these handmade apparel were. That led us to connecting with Mr. Prasanna – founder of Charaka which was then followed by a visit to Bheemanakone. We were enchanted by the values and ethics that govern the functioning of the organization.
The significance of this partnership is to empower the handloom weavers’ community in Karnataka which has been struggling to survive in the industrial era. Both Charaka and Rang De see this as a first- step in providing access to financial support via social investments for the handloom sector. Charaka’s women are in need of assistance for working capital to run their unit efficiently. What better way to support them than through raising social investments for their working capital?