We have recently launched our latest micro venture partnership with Charaka, a women’s co-operative that produces handmade, naturally dyed apparel and provides women with livelihood opportunities in Karnataka. It’s an honour for Rang De to work in partnership with Charaka and support the women in becoming self-reliant. Here’s the story of how it all began!
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.
Charaka provides the women a respectable livelihood opportunity in an ethically run workplace.The work place is well ahead of many of its urban counter parts and ensures that women and their needs are well taken care of — be it the nutritious meals at lunch time or the creche to take care of their kids. More than 200 women are now employed at Charaka. Their produce finds its way to the urban consumer through the Desi stores across Karnataka.
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?
We invite you to join us to support our endeavour to make this weaver community self reliant.